Well, I think people figured this was coming, and today the news broke.
Sources: Edwin Encarnacion close to being traded to mariners— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 13, 2018
In exchange for Edwin Encarnacion, Carlos Santana is expected to go to the Cleveland Indians, sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 13, 2018
But wait, there’s more! There’s a little known CBA provision that dictates the league office will not approve a Mariners trade unless the Rays are involved.
Yandy Diaz is key return for #Rays in trading Bauers to #Indians as part of Santana/Encarnacion deal also involving #Mariners— Marc Topkin (@TBTimes_Rays) December 13, 2018
Divish also noted that we shouldn’t expect Edwin to remain in Seattle for long.
As expected, Santana's time with the Mariners was short. Gotta expect the Mariners to flip Encarnacion for prospects as well. https://t.co/CCp8eS0VIS— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 13, 2018
Encarnación is 35 and fairly evidently in decline; he posted a 116 wRC+ last year, and the hitting has steadily been sinking since 2015. A DH-only option at this point, he is under contract for 2019 with an option for 2020 that is not likely to be picked up by anyone. The total guaranteed money is 25mm, a decent bit less than Santana’s ~$41mm commitment, and a year less control. Carlos Santana returns to Cleveland, which he loves (don’t ask me), and the Rays pick up megamuscled Yandy Diaz while shipping out young 1B Jake Bauers. On the surface, this looks like a money dump, and a frustrating one, as Encarnación is not an especially valuable asset and the hope was that Santana would return something useful to the rebuild. However:
#Mariners also getting a comp pick as part of the trade.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 13, 2018
This is the key to this trade. Competitive Balance picks are the only MLB draft picks that can be traded. Acquiring a Round B Competitive Balance pick gives the Mariners another selection between the second and third rounds of the draft and will allow them to acquire another good but not elite prospect this June. Given the club’s current direction and efforts to rebuild the farm, that’s really important; if you want an idea of the class of player, this pick should be in the 70s and the M’s took Josh Stowers with the 54th pick in last year’s draft. If you want to think of it that way, I think this deal looks pretty good, but we’ll just have to wait and see what friendly new face the Mariners acquire with that pick to get the full picture of what this trade is.
Welcome to Seattle, @Encadwin!— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) December 13, 2018
The Mariners have acquired the 1B/DH and a compensatory Round B draft pick from the Indians in exchange for 1B Carlos Santana. Read more: https://t.co/fwWVvw6eRE pic.twitter.com/ON11UyItvo
UPDATE 10:11 AM:
Naturally the moment I hit send another piece becomes clear, as Tampa’s deal announcement states they are sending cash (unclear how much) to Seattle. So sure, whatever.
We've completed a three-team trade and acquiried IF Yandy Díaz and minor league RHP Cole Sulser from Cleveland in exchange for first baseman Jake Bauers (to Cleveland) and cash considerations (to Seattle). #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/4QARn2EZ3Y— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) December 13, 2018