Dipoto deals another
New Mariner Domingo Santana
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.