By: Noah Wright
Throughout the off season, we saw multiple blockbuster trades happen. We all know about J.T. Realmuto heading over to the Phillies, and Paul Goldschmidt being shipped to the Cardinals. However, there was one, three team trade basically worked out for every party involved. I’m talking about the trade between the Mariners, Indians, and Rays that was put into motion on December 13th of 2018.
To start with, even though all 3 teams have benefitted in this trade, the Rays seem to have seemed to get the best end of this deal. They received corner infielder Yandy Diaz, and a minor league pitcher from the Indians. Diaz so far has surprisingly been one of the MLB’s best batters through the first month of the season. The first baseman/third baseman/designated hitter has a slashline of .289/.385/.600, along with 7 home runs in 109 plate appearances. With a 158 wRC+, Diaz ranks higher than Matt Chapman, Nelson Cruz, and Javier Baez in that regard. Plus, Yandy is giving solid results at the corner infield positions. So far, he has 1 DRS at both first and third, along with a .1 dWAR. For a guy who was never a top prospect of any sort, or never showed great promise on the majors, Yandy Diaz seems to be the first baseman of the future for the Rays, considering he hasn’t even reached arbitration yet.
For the Indians, they received youngster Jake Bauers, and veteran Carlos Santana from the Rays and Mariners. Bauers was a former top 100 prospect. While he hasn’t lived up to the hype just yet, Bauers is still just 23 years of age, so the Indians still have some hope. On the other hand, Carlos Santana, who like Bauers was once a top prospect, has made a return to Cleveland. After the 2017, the first baseman signed on with the Phillies. However, he struggled having a .229/.352/.414 line, and 109 wRC+. That’s a huge drop from his .259/.365/.477 line and 57 home runs he hit between 2016 and 2017. In his return to the Indians, Santana has hit .300/.422/.422 with 2 home runs, and 121 wRC+. His power hasn’t fully rebounded yet, but he could still be relied upon to hit 20 long balls this year, and is showing he can still draw walks, and get on base.
While the Mariners sort of got the short end of the deal, they still made out with a solid piece. They acquired first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion from the Indians in this whole 3 team trade. While Encarnacion isn’t the offensive force he once was back in the early-to-mid-2010’s, the slugger can still provide good power. So far in 120 plate appearances, Edwin has blasted 7 long balls. He is still drawing walks at a good pace, having 17 walks to 22 strikeouts. Encarnacion only has 1 full season on his deal left after 2019, and on a rebuilding Mariners squad the team might shop him around, and get a decent return (depending on how much cash they’re willing to eat).
This is one of the few trades where so far, it looks like everyone's a winner. The Rays acquire an underrated infielder who looks to lock down one of their corner infield spots for the foreseeable future, the Indians acquire a young first baseman/left fielder, and a veteran 1B who looks more comfortable in Cleveland than he did in Philly, and the Mariners get a slugger who they could deal to a team in need of a bat at the deadline.