Seattle Mariners: My Guy Series, Domingo Santana
Of the flurry of trades GM Jerry Dipoto made over the offseason, the trade for Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana flew quietly under the radar. Though Seattle bade farewell to fan favorite Ben Gamel in the deal, the Mariners acquired a young player in Santana with 3 years of club control that can bring immediate impact to the team.
Seattle expects Santana to find everyday production with the Mariners lineup similar to his 2017 season. He will complete the young, exciting outfield that includes Mallex Smith and Mitch Haniger. Just a year removed from All-Star caliber statistics, Dipoto and the front office hope that a change of scenery will help contribute to a bounce-back year.
Domingo Santana experienced a breakout season in 2017. His slash line was an impressive .278/.371/.505, complemented by 30 home runs and 85 RBIs. However, his numbers tapered off a year later, with a slash line of .265/.328/.412 and just 5 home runs. His 525 at-bats in 2017 plunged to just 211 at-bats a year later.
Much of his production decrease can be attributed to the Brewers’ offseason acquisitions of outfielders Lorenzo Cain and now-MVP Christian Yelich. Santana lost his starting job in Milwaukee’s outfield and would have to come off the bench in 2018 to contribute.
Now in Seattle, Santana has extreme potential to bounce pack in a starting role with the Mariners. Likely to see everyday time, Domingo’s number of at-bats will spike dramatically, translating to more home runs, RBIs and (hopefully) a slash-line improvement.
The only obstacle Santana may have in contributing in an everyday role is Jay Bruce. Acquired from the Mets primarily to offset salaries in the blockbuster Mets deal, the Mariners will want to give Bruce time in order to increase his trade value for the 2019 deadline in July. The three-time All-Star had a lackluster 2018, but will also look to bring value to Seattle in both the outfield and at first base, where he played 21 games last season.
If Ryon Healy is still a Mariner come to Opening Day, Jay Bruce will be occasionally relocated to the outfield, taking away production time from Domingo Santana. The designated hitter position is another topic the Mariners need to address as the season approaches, with Edwin Encarnacion rumored to be on the trade block and the future of young Seattle slugger Daniel Vogelbach in question.
Domingo Santana has the big-season potential for the Mariners in 2019. If he gets the starting nod in left field for Seattle, watch out.