Seattle Mariners: The Domingo Santana trade, while good, has its flaws

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: Domingo Santana #16 of the Milwaukee Brewers is doused with water in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 26: Domingo Santana #16 of the Milwaukee Brewers is doused with water in the dugout after hitting a solo home run against the Washington Nationals in the first inning at Nationals Park on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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Yesterday’s trade for Domingo Santana has been well-received amongst the Mariners community, but like with most trades, it’s not the perfect deal and comes with a great amount of risk.

At first glance, this is an absolute steal for the Mariners. They get Domingo Santana just one year removed from a breakout, 3.3 fWAR season for a player they clearly never had any interest in starting in Ben Gamel, as well as the 22-year-old Noah Zavolas, whom they selected in the 18th round of this past MLB Draft.

It’s an upgrade in the outfield at very little cost for the Mariners, giving them the right-handed outfield bat they had been searching for. However, they do run a risk with Santana, who was blocked by an All-Star outfield consisting of Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, and Lorenzo Cain. Because of the block, Santana only found sporadic playing time throughout 2018 and failed to match his numbers of the previous season.

At 26-years-old, Santana comes in at one year less of control than Gamel and is an average to below-average glove out in the corners. While Gamel’s chances of busting out are even slimmer than Santana’s were in Milwaukee due to the superstar-sized logjam, it would have been interesting to see Gamel develop with a year-long opportunity to start.

Santana, on the other hand, will now be given a significant amount of playing time, but the lack of consistency in his career over the last year could have effects on his development and certainly should raise some eyebrows. It’s a stretch, as Santana has done nothing to show he’s anything less than an average player at any level, but it’s a hard ask for any player to quickly jump from being up and down between Triple-A and the MLB to being an everyday outfielder.

Of course, the biggest and most obvious concern about Santana has, and perhaps always will be, the strikeouts. Even in his best year, 2017, Santana struck out at an abysmal 29.3%. There is a caveat to that, however, as Santana also got on base at a .371 clip, which includes a 12% walk rate.

Even with all this said, the trade feels like a slam-dunk for the Mariners. Perhaps the biggest flaw in this deal has nothing to do with the Mariners, but rather what the Brewers are exactly thinking here? Though Gamel has a Minor League option left, there really is no place for him with Milwaukee outside of the continued role off the bench, especially with Corey Ray and Troy Stokes Jr. on the way. It would have made more sense to at least flip Santana for a bullpen piece at the very least.

Next. Mariners Acquire Domingo Santana. dark

It’s a very interesting deal on paper, as both sides carry a significant amount of risk. The Mariners have seemingly hit a home run with this, though.

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