Santana signed a one-year, $1.95 million contract with the Mariners on Thursday, avoiding arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Santana has come to terms with his new team just one day before the arbitration deadline. The 26-year-old, who was acquired from Milwaukee earlier in the offseason, hit .265/.328/.412 with five homers and 20 RBI in 85 games for the Brewers in 2018, a noticeable step back from his breakout 2017 campaign (.278/.371/.505 with 30 homers and 15 stolen bases). Santana will have a clearer path to playing time with the Mariners in 2019.
Milwaukee dealt Santana to Seattle on Friday in exchange for Ben Gamel and Noah Zavolas, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. Santana was squeezed out of a spot in the Brewers' outfield following the acquisitions of Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain last offseason and only wound up playing in 85 games. During that time, he slashed .265/.328/.412 with five home runs and 20 RBI, which was a noticeable decline from his breakout 2017 campaign. Santana will have a chance to receive more playing time with a Mariners team that has sold off a lot of their major pieces from a year ago. Look for him to contend for the starting job in left field alongside Jay Bruce and Mallex Smith during spring training.
Santana is in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Reds. Santana has not started a game for the Brewers in over three months, but he will get a chance to do so Wednesday with fellow outfielders Lorenzo Cain (side) and Ryan Braun (back) banged up. While Santana has not started in a while, he has been seeing the ball well of late, recording five hits -- including two home runs and two doubles -- in plate pinch-hit at-bats over the last eight games.
Santana notched a pinch-hit single in Monday's victory over the Cubs. Santana has not started a game since being called back up to the majors Sept. 1, but he has turned into one of manager Craig Counsell's preferred bats off the bench, as Monday's game was the eighth straight in which Santana received an opportunity to pinch hit.
Santana is heading back to the Brewers on Saturday, Robert Murray of The Athletic Wisconsin reports. Santana's playing time deservedly dwindled earlier in the season as he hit just .249/.313/.354 in 62 games, leading to him being sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs in late June. He'll return as part of a batch of September callups after hitting a solid .283/.401/.487 at the Triple-A level, though the Brewers' outfield remains crowded, so he's likely limited to a bench role.