The Indians made a trade on the final day of the 2018 Winter Meetings, just not the one people were expecting.
Cleveland gets: 1B/DH Carlos Santana from Seattle and OF Jake Bauers from Tampa Bay, $6 million from Mariners
Seattle gets: 1B/DH Edwin Encarnación and 77th pick in 2019 MLB Draft from Cleveland, $5 million from Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay gets: 3B Yandy Diaz and a player to be named later from Cleveland
Cleveland, who has been wanting to trim payroll actually took on $4 million more than they had to pay Encarnación in his final season and the buyout for 2020 by acquiring Santana but also picked up a controllable outfielder in Bauers.
The 23-year-old outfielder was a seventh round pick by San Diego in 2013 and was acquired by Tampa Bay in the Wil Myers trade in December 2014.
Going into 2018, Bauers was Tampa Bay’s fifth overall prospect in their farm system. He’s a decent hitter but has very good plate discipline and draws a lot of walks.
In 96 games for the Rays last season, he hit for .201 with 22 doubles, 11 home runs and 48 RBIs in 388 plate appearances.
Based on scouting reports, his power is still lacking but i would expect him to be in the Indians outfield in 2019.
He’s under team control through the 2024 season and at 23 years old, Cleveland has the time and has shown patience in developing young talent so hopefully they can mold him into the caliber major league outfielder they think he can be.
The Indians also get a familiar face back in Santana who reportedly is excited to return to Cleveland, the place he established his major league career during his first eight seasons before leaving for Philadelphia last winter.
The fact that Cleveland took on more salary in this deal makes me fully believe they aren’t done making deals.
First baseman Yonder Alonso has been rumored to be available and i could see him being the next domino to fall. I would also still not fully rule out the possibility of them still looking to move either Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer although teams reportedly aren’t willing to meet the Indians price tag for either pitcher.
With the free agent market for starting pitching starting to get bone dry, teams may have to pay up for either pitcher if they want to upgrade their rotation.