Carlos SantanaJason Miller/Getty Images
The Deal: Cleveland Indians get 1B/DH Carlos Santana and 1B/LF Jake Bauers and cash; Seattle Mariners get 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion, a competitive balance pick and cash; Tampa Bay Rays get 3B/1B Yandy Diaz and RHP Cole Sulser
Last December's three-team trade between the Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays was at once compelling and uninspiring.
For the Indians, it seemed to be about payroll considerations more than anything else. For the Mariners, it was about taking on a potentially valuable trade chip. For the Rays, it was about taking a chance on a largely unproven player to provide some right-handed thump.
As it actually turns out, everyone's getting something out of it.
Edwin Encarnacion has helped fuel Seattle's offensive onslaught with a .929 OPS and five homers. Yandy Diaz has aided the Rays' early rise with a .923 OPS and four long balls. While the rest of the offense has struggled, Santana and his 1.052 OPS have been a godsend for the Indians.
All three of these guys deserve a mea culpa for our underestimating them, but none more so than Santana. He's been a reliably above-average hitter for years, and that didn't really change in 2018 despite what his .766 OPS suggested. He really only had two bad months.
At this rate, the Indians won't regret taking on the remainder of Santana's three-year, $60 million contract.