Based on the all the whispers we are hearing as we approach the July 31st trade deadline, the Seattle Mariners are probably going to trade outfielder Domingo Santana.
While Santana may not have a huge market, the Mariners will have a few suitors to choose from. One of these teams could be a current Wild Card leader and AL East contender, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tampa is reportedly looking for some right-handed pop and because of their tight-fisted owners, a player with some club control and on a cheap deal is ideal. Tampa Bay likes to have some flexibility in their lineup, so they would need to be comfortable enough with Santana’s defense to put him in the outfield and at DH.
We know the Rays at least contacted the Mariners about Edwin Encarnacion before he was dealt to the Yankees. We also know that the Mariners and Rays are no strangers to working out trades. Seemingly once during the season and once in the off-season, GM Jerry Dipoto gets a deal done with Tampa.
If the Rays are interested in Santana, they definitely have the pieces to get something done and should have a good idea of who Seattle likes. However, without knowing if the Rays are interested in Santana, finding a trade that makes sense for both sides is no easy task.
We also don’t know if Dipoto would prefer players with MLB experience or prospects a year or two away. History says he would prefer the MLB player, but we haven’t seen anything like that this season.
Finding an equitable deal is harder than you think. There is a multitude of offers that the two sides could make. So keep that in mind as we reveal our offer:
So ultimately, this is what we settled on. The Rays have an impressive collection of infielders and Daniel Robertson is towards the bottom of that pecking order. But the 25-year-old has experience at second, short, and third and had an impressive 2018.
In 88 games, Robertson slashed .262/.382/.415 with an impressive 12.5% walk rate. This all added up to a 127 wRC+ and a 2.4 fWAR in a little over half of a season. Unfortunately, 2019 hasn’t been as kind and he finds himself on the IL with a knee injury. On the upshot, Robertson has 2 option years remaining and isn’t a free agent until after 2023.
He has struggled with injuries in the past and his bat best profiles at second base, where Shed Long is currently slated to play. Shed’s ability to move around may not make this an issue and Robertson can manage at short and third.
In addition to Robertson, the Mariners also land left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda. He turns 26 in August and is recovering from Tommy John Surgery, but Banda has some solid stuff. The fastball sits 92-94 as a starter and he has hit 97 MPH in shorter stints.
The slider and changeup both flash plus at times and regularly act as MLB average offerings. The curveball lags behind, but shows good depth and has a chance to be average. The command is what is holding Banda back, but if Seattle can help him improve there, he should be a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm.
There are a few iterations we also kicked around, including the idea of a straight-up swap of Joey Wendle. Wendle is 29-years-old and is a solid bat, glove, and base-runner. He also has 4-years of club control after 2019 and is struggling at the plate this year. Tampa has a lot of second basemen, including Wendle, Robertson, Matt Duffy, Christian Arroyo, and eventually Vidal Brujan, so he could be available.
Ultimately, Santana’s defense may be prohibitive for a deal, but there may just be a match between these familiar trade partners.