Saturday, August 20, 2022

Mariners trade for Carlos Santana; Royals promote prospect Vinnie Pasquantino to fill veteran’s void


The Seattle Mariners have acquired veteran first baseman Carlos Santana and cash considerations as part of a three-player trade with the Kansas City Royals. The Royals, in turn, will receive right-handed pitchers Wyatt Mills and William Fleming. The teams announced the trade on Monday afternoon.

Santana, 36 years old, has batted .216/.349/.341 (98 OPS+) with four home runs and eight more walks (36) than strikeouts (28) in 52 games this season. Santana should slot in with the Mariners as the starting first baseman, a role that has opened up in recent days since Ty France suffered a flexor strain in a collision last week. (Evan White, once the first baseman of the future in Seattle, is out with his own injury.)

The Mariners are 34-40 on the season, putting them 12 games back in the American League West and seven games back in the wild card hunt. SportsLine currently gives them a 13.7 percent chance at making it to the postseason, which would end the longest playoff drought in the majors.

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The Royals, for their part, receive a pair of interesting arms. Mills has a funky delivery that sees him drop and drive with a side-arm release point. He’s yet to find success in the majors, but could develop into a sinker-slider reliever. Fleming is a huge right-hander who was drafted by the Mariners last summer. He’s posted a 4.92 ERA in 14 starts in A-ball this season and could eventually wind up in relief himself.

The most notable development for the Royals is arguably the move they made in addition to the trade: promoting Vinnie Pasquantino from Triple-A. CBS Sports recently noted that Pasquantino could be one of five youngsters to make their big-league debut for non-contending teams sooner than later:

The Royals keep using Carlos Santana at first base, but it seems like a matter of time before they press the necessary buttons and swap him out for Pasquantino. (Or, we suppose, Nick Pratto, their other top first-base prospect.) Pasquantino is a former 11th-round pick from Old Dominion who has overperformed as a professional. This year, he’s batting .298/.392/.667 with 15 home runs and nearly as many walks (26) as strikeouts (30). Pasquantino’s swing won’t win any beauty contests, and he’s not going to take any footraces, either; none of that will matter if he keeps hitting like he has to date.

Pasquantino figures to serve as Kansas City’s most-days first baseman.

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