Phillies Have a Natural Match For a Carlos Santana Trade
The Phillies took a bold step last offseason to add a bat who could hit from the left side. They went for Carlos Santana, a switch-hitter, instead of other options such as Carlos Gonzalez. The move bumped first baseman Rhys Hoskins to left field.
But with their defense rather poor in 2018 and with many players out of position, there has been much speculation that Hoskins should return to his natural position of first base. To do that, the Phillies will have to do one of two things: Move Santana to third base, or move Santana to another team. They may have a trade partner.
Last offseason there were perhaps four teams reportedly in on Santana as he waded through free agency. One was the Phillies. Another was his former team, the Cleveland Indians. The World Champion Boston Red Sox were said to be interested. They ultimately gave Mitch Moreland a two-year deal.
The last team could be the one that might match up with the Phillies on a trade: the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners were reportedly interested in Santana's services last season. The Mariners ended up settling for Ryon Healy, acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics.
Known for his power, Healy hit .235 for the Mariners with 24 home runs and 78 runs batted in, putting together an OPS of .688 in his only season with the Mariners. Overall, Healy did not find much success, and throughout the season various columnists felt his time was running out.
So if the Mariners were interested in Santana before and they were disappointed in Healy's performance in 2018, might the Phillies and Mariners match up on a trade? Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto is known for making many trades. Dipoto will need a veteran bat in his lineup.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz is a free agent. After four years in Seattle (and many, many home runs), the 38 year-old might not return. it may not be because he is not productive; the Mariners need a place for Robinson Cano. After serving an 80-game suspension for a violation of the joint drug agreement, Dee Gordon seemed to take over second base for good.
If Cano becomes the designated hitter and Santana the first baseman, the Mariners would have a nicely balanced lineup.
The Phillies probably will not get a lot in return. The big advantage would be to clear some money to sign a big name. The Phillies can throw in a few dollars if necessary. But if there is a deal to be made, Dipoto will make it.
With the offseason officially underway, players can file for free agency. Free agents will have an exclusive negotiating window with their respective teams for five days. Trades may happen at any time. I would not be surprised if the Phillies strike early and often.