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Mariners net OF Santana for Gamel, prospect

December 21, 2018

SEATTLE -- Looking to balance out a left-handed-heavy lineup, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto acquired Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana on Friday in a trade for left fielder Ben Gamel and Minor League pitcher Noah Zavolas.The 26-year-old Santana hit .278/.371/.505 with 30 homers, 85 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in a

SEATTLE -- Looking to balance out a left-handed-heavy lineup, Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto acquired Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana on Friday in a trade for left fielder Ben Gamel and Minor League pitcher Noah Zavolas.
The 26-year-old Santana hit .278/.371/.505 with 30 homers, 85 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in a breakout season in 2017 for Milwaukee, but struggled last year and spent half the season in Triple-A amid trade speculation after the Brewers had acquired outfielders Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain.
"Santana was one of the most productive outfielders in baseball in 2017," Dipoto said. "He did not have the same opportunities last year, but his age and power bat from the right side make him a very good fit for our club moving forward."
In 85 games last year with Milwaukee, Santana posted a .265/.328/.412 line with five homers and 20 RBIs over 235 plate appearances. He hit .283/.401/.487 with eight homers and 35 RBIs in 55 games in Triple-A after being sent down in late June, but delivered some big hits in a pinch-hitting role when recalled in September.
In 24 pinch-hit appearances over the final month, Santana went 9-for-22 (.409) with three doubles, a triple, two home runs and three RBIs. He also was 2-for-8 with two walks and three RBIs in 10 pinch-hitting opportunities in the postseason.
"I don't know that our evaluation of Domingo ever wavered from one of a really talented player," Brewers GM David Stearns told Milwaukee reporters. "He showed what he can do at the Major League level. At the same time, we brought in some really talented outfielders last year and Domingo got off to a slow start and just really never recovered to gain significant playing time at the Major League level.
"Part of that was performance and part of that was probably being a victim of circumstances. We think Domingo is a very talented player, and he's a true professional. I think he's going to do well in Seattle."

At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, the Dominican Republic native adds some right-handed punch to a Mariners outfield that previously had only one likely right-handed hitter in Mitch Haniger. Mallex Smith and Jay Bruce, acquired in earlier trades this offseason, both bat left-handed.
The rest of Seattle's tentative lineup is also lefty heavy, with new catcher Omar Narvaez and shortstop J.P. Crawford both hitting from that side, along with returning second baseman Dee Gordon and third baseman Kyle Seager.
Gamel is the same age as Santana at 26, but has four years of club control remaining compared to three for Santana, who is arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and out of Minor League options.
Gamel posted a .272/.358/.370 line with one homer and 19 RBIs in 293 plate appearances over 101 games in a part-time outfield role last season. He was acquired from the Yankees in August of 2016 for Minor Leaguers Juan De Paula and Jio Orozco.
Zavolas, the third player involved in Friday's deal, was the Mariners' 18th-round Draft pick out of Harvard last June and went 5-2 with a 3.03 ERA in 19 games between Class A Everett and Class A Advanced Modesto.
The trade is the eighth of the offseason for Dipoto, who has undertaken a massive roster makeover in an attempt to reposition the Mariners for a postseason push in 2020 and beyond.
Gamel becomes the 10th player from last year's 89-73 squad to be dealt away, joining second baseman Robinson Cano, shortstop Jean Segura, catcher Mike Zunino, outfielder Guillermo Heredia, starter James Paxton and relievers Edwin Diaz, Alex Colome, James Pazos and Juan Nicasio.
In return, the Mariners have brought in four young Major Leaguers who could immediately fill starting roles, with Smith in center field, Santana in left field, Narvaez at catcher and Crawford at shortstop, plus veteran designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, Bruce and relievers Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista.

They've also added top pitching prospects Justus Sheffield, Justin Dunn and Erik Swanson, an elite outfield prospect in Jarred Kelenic and some much-needed depth with outfielders Dom Thompson-Williams, Jake Fraley and lefty starter Ricardo Sanchez, all of whom have cracked Seattle's Top 30 Prospect list per MLB Pipeline. The Mariners also acquired a 2019 Competitive Balance Round B Draft pick (77th overall) from the Indians.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.