The Seattle Mariners have acquired slugger Edwin Encarnacion from Cleveland, sending Carlos Santana back to the Indians as part of a three-team trade that also includes the Tampa Bay Rays, it was announced Thursday.
The Indians will receive first baseman Jake Bauers from the Rays, while Tampa Bay will get third baseman Yandy Diaz from Cleveland. The Indians also are sending minor league pitcher Cole Sulser to the Rays and the 77th pick in the 2019 competitive balance draft to the Mariners.
Tampa Bay will send $5 million to Seattle, and the Mariners will pay $6 million to Cleveland.
Encarnacion, who turns 36 in January, hit .246 with 32 home runs for the Indians last season. He was third in the American League with 107 RBIs. His streak of seven consecutive seasons with at least 30 home runs leads all active players.
“We’re excited to add a proven offensive performer in Edwin Encarnacion,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “In addition, by adding another draft pick for 2019, we have another opportunity to add to the talent in our minor league system.”
“We’ll see how it goes with Edwin, whether he stays with us or he moves on to another destination,” Seattle assistant general manager Justin Hollander said.
Dipoto finished the trade while in a hospital. He felt ill a day earlier and was checked “out of an abundance of caution,” the team said.
Encarnacion mostly served as the Indians’ designated hitter in 2018 but also started 23 games at first base. Cleveland ranked 23rd in the majors last season with a .312 on-base percentage from their first basemen. Santana provides an immediate upgrade in that department, as he had a .365 OBP during his eight seasons with the Indians and a .352 OBP with the Phillies.
Overall, Encarnacion has 380 career home runs with 1,156 RBIs and a .264 batting average.
He is guaranteed $25 million: $20 million next season and a $5 million buyout of a $25 million club option for 2020.
Today, we retire one of our favorite GIFs as we wish @Encadwin the best.
Thanks for slugging with us, EE, and good luck down the road! pic.twitter.com/tvCZx0NLES
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) December 13, 2018
— Jake Bauers (@JakeBauers11) December 13, 2018
Santana, 32, signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Phillies last offseason and has a base salary of $17 million in 2019 and $17.5 million in 2020. His contract has a club option for the 2021 season worth $17.5 million with a $500,000 buyout.
He hit .229 with 24 home runs and 86 RBIs in 2018.
“Not sure how to feel,” Indians star Jose Ramirez tweeted.
Yonder Alonso hit 23 homers with 83 RBI last season as the Indians’ first baseman. He’s signed for 2019 with an option for 2020 — with the additions of Santana and Bauers, perhaps Alonso could end up in a trade along with one of Cleveland’s star pitchers.
Tampa Bay was eager to get Diaz, who hit .283 with 28 RBIs in 88 games for Cleveland in the last two seasons. Highly regarded at 27, his opportunities were limited with the Indians because they already had a talented infield.
“The key to this deal for us is how we feel about Yandy Diaz,” Rays vice president Chaim Bloom said. “We really like his bat. He hasn’t gotten an opportunity to show it regularly at the major league level just being blocked by some of the players that the Indians have had.”
The 23-year-old Bauers made his major league debut last season and hit .201 with 11 homers and 48 RBI in 96 games for Tampa Bay.
Sulser, 28, spent last season in Triple-A and Double-A, going a combined 8-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 47 relief appearances.
Tampa Bay will send the Mariners $2.5 million in two installments by May 1 and Aug. 1 next year. Seattle will send Cleveland a pair of $1 payments on or before May 1 and Aug. 1 next year, and $2 million on or before each of those dates in 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.