The Milwaukee Brewers put Domingo Santana in a tough position on January 25th, 2018 when they acquired both Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain. With his playing time diminished, it’s time to trade him.
When the reports came out last December that the Milwaukee Brewers were actively shopping Domingo Santana, many were surprised. He was just coming off a .278/.371/.505 with 30 home runs, which is by all means a very productive campaign. The Brewers had a very high valuation placed on him, looking to sell high.
It wasn’t until they acquired Yelich and Cain that it made sense that the Brewers were trying to unload Santana. But after that, it was too late. Every other MLB team would know the Brewers would be desperate to move him and Stearns lost all leverage. So he was stuck with him in 2018, and it soon became clear why the Crew wanted to move him.
Santana struggled in 2018, hitting only five home runs, albeit in less than 250 plate appearances. He was optioned to the minor leagues in June to get more at-bats and stayed there until September, where he had value as a pinch hitter. But Santana can be an everyday player on an MLB team, it’s just that the Brewers are no longer that team.
Out of options
The main reason the Milwaukee Brewers need to trade Santana now is that he is out of minor league options. They were content to keep him last year because he had one option remaining. But now, they’re going to have to keep him on the big league roster or designate him for assignment, which exposes him to waivers where they would lose him for nothing.
Domingo Santana is not one of those players that thrives in a part-time role. He needs to be getting regular at-bats for him to be having any success at the plate. We saw proof of that early in the 2018 season.
With Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain entrenched in the outfield for the next four seasons and Ryan Braun under contract for the next two, there’s no room to start in the outfield for Santana.
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They can’t put him back in the minors, and they don’t have a starting spot for him. But he has three years of arbitration remaining, and he’ll be relatively cheap for the acquiring team. It’s time to trade him.
What Could Santana Bring Back?
Part of the reason the Milwaukee Brewers couldn’t find a trade partner for Santana last winter was because of their high asking price for him. It was understandable considering he was coming off a breakout season. But the price has now dropped considerably.
Given Santana’s poor 2018 season, GM David Stearns is going to adjust his demands accordingly. The price will now have dropped to maybe a middle reliever or a mid-level minor league prospect in a straight up deal for Santana.
However, if the Brewers were to make him part of a bigger package, he could help bring back a top flight pitcher. For example, the Cleveland Indians are in desperate need of outfielders, especially in the corners. The Indians are also looking to trade one of Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Either of those pitchers would immediately fit atop the Crew’s rotation.
The Brewers would have to throw in some prospects as well, but with the Indians looking for some big league talent to supplement their club, adding Santana and his potential for 30 home runs in their outfield will be a big boost.
The time to trade Domingo Santana is now. He’s out of minor league options, he doesn’t have a starting job, and he’s still young enough to intrigue another team. It won’t be selling high on him like they tried to do last winter, but with a more realistic asking price now, there is a very high likelihood Santana gets traded this offseason.
The Milwaukee Brewers have stockpiled outfielders since David Stearns got the job three years ago. Now it’s time to trade some of them away to plug other holes.