Seattle Mariners Swap Santana for Encarnacion and Draft Pick

SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 1: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off or starting pitcher Mike Leake #8 of the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a game at Safeco Field on April 1, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - APRIL 1: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off or starting pitcher Mike Leake #8 of the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning of a game at Safeco Field on April 1, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) /
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The last day of the Winter Meetings is usually a snooze fest. But from a hospital bed in Las Vegas, Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto and his staff pulled off the biggest trade of the week.

In the middle of what is usually the most exciting thing to happen on the last day of the winter meetings, the Rule 5 Draft, the Mariners found a partner for Carlos Santana. They traded Carlos Santana and $6 million to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Edwin Encarnacion, a competitive balance B pick, and $5 million cash (from the Rays in the 3 team deal).

The move is an interesting one. Santana was due $40 million in 2019 and 2020 (including a $500,000 buyout after 2020) while Encarnacion is due $21 million in 2019 with a $5 million buyout after this season (or a $20 million team option). The move would, in theory, save the Mariners about $9 million in total ( $15 million overall minus the $6 million sent to Cleveland).

Aside from the monetary savings, the Mariners also acquired a Competitive Balance draft selection between rounds 2-3 of the 2019 draft this June. The pick is currently slated to be the 77th overall selection but could find its way into the top 75 after the players with qualifying offers find new contracts.

If Encarnacion is still around by Opening Day, he helps replace the power lost by the departure of Nelson Cruz. He is coming off a down year in Cleveland, which still saw him slash .246/.336/.474 with 32 home runs and 107 RBI.

Encarnacion, who turns 36 in January, is likely to be traded before Opening Day, but could still carve out a niche as a veteran presence that Dipoto believes has some value. If he does stick around for a portion of 2019, he will likely be the DH while getting a handful of games at first base and hit from the cleanup spot.

The real prize of the trade may be the competitive balance pick, Number 77 overall. The pick obviously gives the Mariners another chance to add young talent to their farm system in June. It also increases their total bonus pool, allowing them to spend more money on their draft picks than before.

There are a lot of ways teams can manipulate the bonus pool money. The Mariners could take a player at below slot in the second round to spend bigger later. Or perhaps this pick allows them to convince a prep player to forgo college.

Either way, the Mariners now have 4 selections in the Top 100 picks of 2019: 20, 59, 77, 97. They also have a trade chip that has already gotten inquiries from the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies, and Tampa Bay Rays.

Overall, the Mariners basically trade Carlos Santana and $1 million for Edwin Encarnacion and the 77th pick in the draft. And in a very real way, the Jean Segura trade is still incomplete, but Dipoto has now gotten J.P. Crawford and a Top 100 pick for Segura.

With this trade, Seattle cleared $9 million from their 2019-2020 payroll, collected a fairly high draft pick, and still got a helpful bat in 2019 to either play for, or bring in more prospects, for the Mariners.

Next. Edgar Martinez: A Hall of Fame Career. dark

The deal appears to be an absolute home run for Jerry Dipoto and sets the Mariners up for the 2019 draft and free agency as well.

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