Milwaukee Brewers: Finding Domingo Santana’s Trade Market

MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 16: Domingo Santana
MILWAUKEE, WI - SEPTEMBER 16: Domingo Santana /
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With the revelation that the Milwaukee Brewers were “actively shopping” Domingo Santana, it has become obvious that there is a serious chance he gets traded. But where could he go?

Domingo Santana is a 25 year old outfielder coming off of a 30 homer campaign where he hit .278/.371/.505 with 85 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, and 73 walks. He has four years of team control remaining, including one season at the league minimum. There’s a lot of value in Domingo Santana.

The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to sell high on Santana as they try to clear up the messy outfield picture they currently have. On the surface, trading a productive young player with several years of team control doesn’t sound like a move that the Brewers should be making right now. But with a plethora of other young productive outfielders in the system, Santana might be expendable. Moving Santana allows Brett Phillips to start in right field while Lewis Brinson and Keon Broxton battle it out for center field. That’s a battle that Brinson is likely to win.

The Brewers are known to have been in trade conversations surrounding Santana, but the list of teams involved is unknown. The San Francisco Giants are the only named team but there are likely others.

Who has a need?

For a team to have interest in Domingo Santana, they’re first going to have a need in the corner outfield. Since none of the major free agent corner outfielders like JD Martinez have signed anywhere yet, every option is still on the table. The list of teams that could use an upgrade in the corner outfield is:

  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Seattle Mariners
  • San Diego Padres
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Philadelphia Phillies

The Oakland A’s were thought to have interest but their recent acquisition of Stephen Piscotty from St. Louis takes them out of consideration.

The Blue Jays are still looking to contend and could use Santana’s bat in the middle of their lineup. The Giants desperately need outfielders. Seattle has a couple of average at best corner outfielders and could try to improve that situation if they still want to contend. The Padres are young and could look to pair Santana with Hunter Renfroe out there. The Rays could need an infusion of talent everywhere.

The Royals are losing Lorenzo Cain and Jorge Bonifacio currently mans right field but with a rebuild looming, is four years of Santana the right fit? Probably not. Arizona has David Peralta in right field and he does a pretty good job. Left field could use an upgrade over Yasmany Tomas but they will try to get JD Martinez before they make a move for Santana. Atlanta is old in the corner outfield and could look to move the contracts of Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis elsewhere. The Phillies are young but are trying to get ready for contention after an ugly rebuild.

The teams that have the most interest in Santana are most likely somewhere in that group. While not all may be intrigued right now, the landing spots of JD Martinez, Jay Bruce, and Carlos Gonzalez could either boost their interest or end it entirely.

But there’s another question that remains.

Who can Afford him?

The Milwaukee Brewers are going to set a seriously high price on Santana. Also, it won’t be just prospects in return for Santana. David Stearns will demand at least one MLB-ready starting pitcher that he can plug into his rotation right away along with some high level prospects.

Not many teams will be able to meet that price and even fewer will be willing to meet that price. But it only takes one other team to be willing and able to pay David Stearns’ demands. With that said, the teams that have the potential to line up best on a trade are:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Atlanta Braves
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Philadelphia Phillies
  • Toronto Blue Jays

The farm system for the Diamondbacks isn’t that strong but if they are willing to deal from their starting rotation, a trade can be made. The Braves have a great farm system. They’re definitely able to pay the price, but likely aren’t as willing to do so at this point. Tampa Bay is looking to rebuild and restock their farm system but there is a certain starting pitcher that could be worth it for David Stearns.

Philadelphia has a strong farm system and could look to make the jump back to contending with a proven MLB bat. The Blue Jays may have some MLB arms that Stearns could want and a few intriguing prospects.

The Giants have a weak farm system and their rotation doesn’t have anyone worth trading for, outside of Madison Bumgarner. But the odds of the Giants trading Bumgarner are so bad even Lloyd Christmas doesn’t like those chances. The Padres have no pitching and their prospects aren’t going to move. The Mariners have a weak farm and the Royals don’t have the prospects for a deal. Even in a potential Danny Duffy trade, getting four years of Santana makes no sense since they don’t expect to contend in the next four years.

Who’s Most Likely To Match Up?

If a Santana trade is to happen, it will need to wait until JD Martinez and Jay Bruce sign contracts. The Diamondbacks want to keep Martinez around but if he signs elsewhere they could quickly turn to Santana. The Phillies have the young pitching to intrigue Stearns but they won’t want to move them. The Braves would likely need to include Julio Teheran and be able to move Kemp and Markakis. Tampa needs to move Archer in a deal and Toronto needs to move Stroman in a deal.

For those reasons, the top five teams that could trade for Domingo Santana are, in order of likelihood:

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Tampa Bay Rays
  3. Atlanta Braves
  4. Philadelphia Phillies
  5. Toronto Blue Jays

This order is obviously dependent on JD Martinez signing with someone that is not Arizona. They have the MLB pitching and they have a few really nice prospects. Tampa could see Santana as a centerpiece in return for Chris Archer and with those talks ongoing, there’s a good chance he’s been mentioned. The Braves could use a young option in the corner outfield.

The Phillies won’t want to give up Aaron Nola and he’s the only MLB arm they have that’s worth trading Santana for. The Blue Jays must include Marcus Stroman in a deal involving Santana. They believe they can still contend but they won’t be able to without Stroman. That deal won’t come together this offseason for the Milwaukee Brewers.

That’s the essence of Domingo Santana’s trade market. For an extremely valuable outfielder like Santana, a high price will need to be paid to get him. Only five teams truly have the need and ability to get him. And only about three could have the willingness to pay that price.

Next: David Stearns writes a letter to Santa

Santana does not have to go anywhere this offseason. But, it won’t be the worst thing in the world to have him manning right field for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2018. David Stearns has stockpiled outfielders but the time has now come on which ones to keep and which ones to trade. Santana may be the first to go.

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