The Mariners have acquired outfielder Domingo Santana from the Brewers for outfielder Ben Gamel and pitching prospect Noah Zavolas, as The Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish and The Athletic’s Corey Brock first reported Friday and the team later confirmed:
Mariners are working to finalize a trade for outfielder Domingo Santana of the Brewers. Medicals need to be checked.— Ryan Divish (@RyanDivish) December 21, 2018
Sounds like Ben Gamel and Noah Zavolas are part of the return to Milwaukee for Domingo Santana. @RyanDivish had Santana first.— Corey Brock (@CoreyBrockMLB) December 21, 2018
Welcome to Seattle, Domingo Santana!— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) December 22, 2018
The Mariners have acquired the outfielder from the Brewers in exchange for OF Ben Gamel and minor league RHP Noah Zavolas.
Santana, 26, is just a year removed from a breakout 2017 campaign during which he posted an .875 OPS with 30 homers and 85 RBI. He struggled to adapt to an outfield timeshare with the Brewers in 2018, though, and while he was their primary starting right fielder for the first two months of the season and later re-emerged as one of their top pinch-hitters down the stretch — he came up with a key double in Game 163 against the Cubs, playing a major role in helping the Brewers win the NL Central — he also spent more than two months at Triple-A Colorado Springs, and his season-ending numbers weren’t overly impressive, as he finished with a .265/.328/.412 slash line and only five homers in 235 plate appearances.
Santana figures to receive a more significant opportunity in Seattle than he did with the Brewers in 2018. He’ll join an outfield mix that also features Mitch Haniger, Mallex Smith, and Jay Bruce, and the DH position may also be available for those players to rotate at if Seattle is able to flip Edwin Encarnacion (don’t put anything past Jerry Dipoto, after all).
The 26-year-old Gamel, meanwhile, profiles better as a backup and pinch-hitter in Milwaukee than Santana did. He’s a lefty hitter who’s much better against right-handers — he hit .283/.369/.373 against righties compared to .222/.308/.356 against lefties last year. Depending on whether the Brewers trade or otherwise get rid of Eric Thames this offseason, he could take over the slugger’s bench role in 2019. He’ll battle with Keon Broxton and possibly Thames for at-bats behind the primary starting trio of Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, and Christian Yelich next year.
Zavolas, a Harvard grad, was the Mariners’ 18th-round pick in this year’s draft. He posted a 3.03 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 19 appearances (38.2 innings) between short-season Everett and High-A Modesto.
This is the Mariners’ eighth trade this offseason, with Santana, Smith, Encarnacion, Jay Bruce, Anthony Swarzak, JP Crawford, Omar Narvaez, Justus Sheffield, and Gerson Bautista among the major-league players brought in and Gamel, Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura, James Paxton, Alex Colome, Mike Zunino, Juan Nicasio, and Guillermo Heredia among the big-leaguers headed out.