Dipoto deals another
New Mariner Domingo Santana
December 21, 2018
Mariner General Manager Jerry Dipoto has made another trade, this time with the Milwaukee Brewers. The trade sends outfielder Ben Gamel and 22-year-old minor-league pitcher Noah Zavolas to Milwaukee in exchange for outfielder Domingo Santana.
Santana—not to be confused with first baseman Carlos Santana, whom the M's recently dealt to Cleveland—is a right-handed batter, offering some platoon balance to an outfield that had been overstocked with lefties. Since breaking into the Major Leagues with the Astros as a late-season callup in 2014, Santana has produced a career batting line of .261/.349/.458, mostly as a part-time player. His one near-full-time season, 2017, was his best; that year he smacked 30 home runs and 85 RBI while batting .278/.371/.505 and stealing 15 bases as Milwaukee's everyday right fielder. Over his career, he has some experience in left and center field as well, but has been almost exclusively a right fielder since 2016. Defensively, he rates as slightly below average with a 1.72 range factor per nine innings played (league average RF/9 for that period is 2.06 for all outfielders, 1.97 for right fielders).
2019 is Santana's first arbitration-eligible year, so salary implications until he hits free agency after 2021 are uncertain, but it's expected he'll be paid something in the neighborhood of $2 million next year.
While it's sad to see Gamel leave the Mariners, he had become superfluous with the acquisition of (and seeming inability to flip) Jay Bruce. A streaky hitter, Gamel ran hot and cold for the M's since arriving in Seattle in a deal with the Yankees in late 2016, putting up an aggregate line of .270/.333/.395. Zavolas, meanwhile, was drafted out of Harvard University by the M's this past June and split his first pro season between low-Class-A Everett and advanced-Class-A Modesto, throwing 282⁄3 innings in relief for a 5-2, 3.49 campaign.
The trade leaves the Mariners with Santana (RH), Bruce (LH), Mitch Haniger (RH), and Mallex Smith (LH) as the likely outfield contingent for 2019's Major-League roster.