Royals swap Carlos Santana with sailors, promote Vinnie Pasquantino

Royals swap Carlos Santana with sailors, promote Vinnie Pasquantino

Mariners acquired first baseman/designated hitter carlos santana and money from the Royals in exchange for righties Wyatt Mills and William Fleming, according to a team announcement. Swap paves way for Royals to take late look at top prospect Vinnie Pasquantino, whose contract was officially selected over Triple-A Omaha, according to the team. right-handed Ronald Bolanos was nominated for an assignment to open up a spot on Kansas City’s 40-man roster.

carlos santana |  John Hefti - USA TODAY Sports

Monday’s trade closes the book on a generally disappointing tenure at Kansas City for Santana, who signed a two-year, $17.5 million deal ahead of the 2021 season but has yet to hit the form that has made him such a valuable contributor for years in Cleveland. . The 36-year-old hitter had 871 plate appearances with the Royals and posted just a .215/.326/.341 batting line – about 12% below the league average after weighting for the park and league, by measure of wRC+.

However, Santana has managed to turn things around over the past few weeks and has shown enough this month for the Royals to adopt a low cost look now that they suddenly find themselves in need of a first baseman. FranceSeattle’s most consistent hitter this season, recently landed on the injured list and is expected to be out slightly longer than that 10-day minimum, given the diagnosis of a Grade 2 flexor strain. shouldn’t expect Santana to completely replace France’s stellar .316/.390/.476 batting line, but he himself managed a .298/.405/.468 production in his 27 last games and 111 plate appearances.

In all likelihood, the Royals are paying the vast majority of what’s left on Santana’s contract. He still owes the balance of this year’s $10.5 million salary (about $5.8 million), and that number will increase based on plate appearances. Santana, who already has 212 plate appearances this season, will earn an additional $75,000 for every 25th plate appearance from 300 to 525.

This isn’t the first time the Mariners have acquired Santana, but every time he steps onto the court in a Mariners jersey, it will be his first real game with the team. Seattle actually acquired Santana alongside JP Crawford in the agreement that sent Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio and James Pazos to the Phillies in December 2018. However, not two weeks later, Santana was traded to Cleveland in the three-team trade that brought Edwin Encarnacion in Seattle. Encarnacion spent half a season struggling as the Mariners’ designated hitter before returning to the Yankees for right-hander John So.

This time around, it will be two right-handers who will travel to Kansas City in exchange for the last three months of control over Santana. Of the two right-handers in question, only Mills has major league experience so far. The 27-year-old has thrown a total of 21 1/3 frames over the past two seasons, but has struggled to hit a 7.59 ERA with below-average strikeout and walk rates during that span. (17.3% and 10.2%, respectively).

Wyatt Mills |  Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

Mills, the No. 93 overall pick in 2017, has more interesting but also inconsistent numbers in the upper minors. The right-hander fanned 44.7% of his opponents in 28 2/3 innings of Triple-A ball last year, for example, but that rate has been halved so far in 2022 over 19 2 /3 rounds. There’s no change in speed between his 21 and 22 campaigns, although Mills threw more fastballs at the expense of slider use during the big league’s small 8 2/3 innings sample. This year. The 6’4″ right-hander has never ranked among the Mariners’ top prospects, but Baseball America has ranked him among Seattle’s top 25 farmhands since the time he was drafted.

Fleming, meanwhile, is a 23-year-old right-hander the Mariners selected in the 11th round just a year ago. He also hasn’t generally been considered among the Mariners’ top prospects – although FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen ranked him 28th earlier this year – and posted fairly pedestrian numbers in Class A Modesto despite being a former college arm older than his average. opponent at this level. So far, Fleming has pitched 67 2/3 innings over 14 starts and recorded a 4.92 ERA with a strikeout rate of 20.7% against an 8.4% walk rate.

For the Royals, the weapons received in exchange for Santana are secondary in this trade. The main purpose of the trade was to finally open playing time for the 6’4″, 245-pound Pasquantino, who worked his way to top prospect status by dominating in every minor league stoppage. , including Triple-A this season.So far Pasquantino has taken 296 homers for the Storm Chasers and posted a whopping .280/.372/.576 batting line with 18 homers, 16 doubles two triples and more walks (37) than strikeouts (36).

Given his size and lack of speed, Pasquantino is locked into a first base-only (or designated hitter) profile, but all indications so far are that his bat will play in the Majors. Scouting reports to Baseball America and FanGraphs indicate that he improved enough with the glove to be average or slightly better, and Pasquantino has never posted an OBP below .371 or a slugging percentage below .560 at n at any minor league level. And, given the lack of strikeouts in his game, he’s been able to maintain a .293 average throughout his minor league tenure to date.

Even without much defensive value to back up his value, Pasquantino ranks as the 57th-highest prospect in the game at Baseball America. He ranks 95th on FanGraphs and 98th on MLB.com, with all three scouting reports praising his more (or better) punching tool and above-average power.

The organizational hope is that between Pasquantino and fellow puncher Nick Prato – also a first base only, top 100 prospect – they will have their first base and first DH slots covered for years to come. Pasquantino’s promotion to the Majors is late enough for him to avoid Super Two status, and he will be controllable for at least six full seasons beyond the current campaign.

As for the 25-year-old Bolanos, he has seen action with Kansas City in each of the last three seasons but has posted walkable numbers overall. Once a notable Padres left Cuba, he was traded to the Royals alongside Franchy Cordero in the 2020 trade that sent Tim Hill to San Diego. He has since combined for 28 1/3 innings of 4.76 ball ERA with a lackluster 24-17 K/BB ratio.

Bolanos has a respectable 4.42 ERA in 18 1/3 innings this year, but his average 93.6 mph fastball is down about two miles per hour from his peak and that ERA is coming. despite an even number of walks to strikeouts. Add to that that he limped to a 5.49 ERA in 19 Triple-A 2/3 frames this season, and it was enough for the Royals to decide they are ready to move on. Of course, the DFA does not necessarily mean the end of his tenure in the organization. Kansas City will have a week to trade Bolanos if there’s interest, but the Royals may also try to get him through outright waivers at some point next week. If unclaimed, he will remain with the organization but no longer occupy a spot on the 40-man roster.

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