Trade Reaction: How did the Indians do in the three-team deal?

Was reuniting with Santana and trading for Bauers a wise decision?

James Rapien
December 13, 2018 - 2:09 pm
Oct 6, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana (41) runs to third base during the sixth inning in game two of the 2017 ALDS against the New York Yankees at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians said they wanted to remain competitive in 2019 and beyond. They made a move to do that today.

Cleveland is sending Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle, plus Yandy Diaz and Cole Sulser to Tampa Bay in a three-team deal.

The Indians will be reunited with Carlos Santana, who spent the first eight-seasons of his career in Cleveland, before signing with Philadelphia last year. The Mariners are also sending $6 million in cash considerations to the Indians. Cleveland also receives 23-year-old first baseman Jake Bauers. He was the fifth-ranked prospect in the Rays’ organization a year ago and was called up in June. Bauers posted a .201 batting average, hit 11 home runs and had 48 RBI in 96 games. He led American League rookies in walks with 54. Bauers finished fourth in doubles, eighth in runs scored and RBI among first-year A.L. players. Bauers was picked in the seventh round of the 2013 MLB Draft.

It’s hard not to like this trade for the Indians. They traded Encarnacion, a player who was in the final year of his contract for Santana and $6 million in cash considerations. Santana is still a talented player, who is younger and has multiple years left on his contract. He finished with 24 home runs, 86 RBI and posted a .229 batting average last season in Philadelphia. Jon Heyman reports that Santana is "thrilled" to be returning to Cleveland and never sold his home. He can be an important part of a winning Indians team in 2019 and 2020.

Cleveland would’ve had to pay Encarnacion $25 million to play for them in 2019 – when you add in his $5 million buyout for 2020. Instead of doing that, they’ll pay Santana $29 million over the next two seasons – Seattle sent Cleveland $6 million, which offsets the $35 million Santana is owed.

The second part of this trade was Diaz and Sulser for Bauers. Diaz has a chance to be a nice player, but he lacks power at the plate and probably doesn’t have the upside Bauers does. Bauers showed flashes last season and was expected to start for Tampa Bay in 2019. He has more major league at bats than Diaz and should be ready to contribute right away.

Trading for Bauers does make you wonder about Yonder Alonso’s future with Cleveland. Could they trade his $8 million contract for something of value? If not, Bauers could play in the outfield. He played 20 games in left and right field combined for Tampa Bay last season. This is a good breakdown of his 2018 season with the Rays. Here are a few videos of Bauers:

I like this deal for the Indians, but Tampa Bay must be high on Diaz and Sulser since they sent $5 million to Seattle to help facilitate the trade.

Ken Rosenthal says he still expects the Tribe to trade Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber. I would agree that it feels like this is just the beginning.

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