Ted S. Warren/Associated Press
The Tampa Bay Rays will receive infielder Yandy Diaz and pitcher Cole Suslers from Cleveland for first baseman/outfielder Jake Bauers. Seattle also receives the 77th pick in the 2019 draft from the Indians.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported the deal.
The trade comes two years after Cleveland made one of the biggest splashes of the 2016 offseason by landing Encarnacion with a three-year, $60 million contract. He has one guaranteed year remaining on his deal, with a $25 million option ($5 million buyout) for an additional year.
When the Indians signed the slugger to that deal, they were coming off a World Series appearance and hoped he could be the missing piece to help the franchise win its first championship since 1948.
While the Tribe won the American League Central during each of his seasons with the club, they also suffered back-to-back first-round exits in the postseason.
During his two years in Cleveland, Encarnacion hit .252/.358/.490 with 70 home runs, 36 doubles and 214 RBI. The slugger hit .246 with 32 home runs and 107 RBI in 137 games in 2018, spending some time on the disabled list due to a bone bruise on his right hand as well as biceps swelling.
His .336 on-base percentage was his lowest since 2011. His average has also dropped with each passing season since 2015.
There is no question the Mariners would significantly improve their lineup with the addition of Encarnacion and save money given that Santana is under contract for two seasons, compared to one for Encarnacion.
Even if the 35-year-old Encarnacion has slowed down a bit, he provides plenty of power. As one of the most prolific sluggers of the past decade, he has hit 30-plus home runs in seven consecutive seasons, topping the 40-mark twice during that span.
Adding that bat to the lineup should provide some more pop to a Seattle lineup that traded Robinson Cano to the New York Mets and likely won’t bring back free-agent designated hitter Nelson Cruz.
Santana returns to Cleveland, where he spent the first eight years of his career, after leaving as a free agent. He spent one year with the Philadelphia Phillies, hitting .229/.352/.414 with 24 homers in 2018, before being traded to the Mariners on Dec. 3.
Bauers can play first base or outfield in Cleveland. The 23-year-old had a .700 OPS with 11 homers in 96 games as a rookie for the Rays last season.