3. Five-player swap that sent struggling Phillies 1B Carlos Santana to Mariners
There is no doubt that the Phillies needed to move on from first baseman Carlos Santana when they did. Matt Klentak signed the longtime Cleveland Indians slugger in December 2017 to a three-year, $60 million contract.
Santana was coming off of a 2017 season in which he slashed. 259/.363/.455 with 37 doubles, 23 home runs, 79 RBI, 88 walks, and just 94 strikeouts. In his lone season in a Phillies uniform (2018), he slashed just .229/.352/.414 with 28 doubles, 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 110 walks, and 93 strikeouts.
In hindsight, signing Santana was one of Klentak’s worst moves as general manager. But, recognizing things did not work out and Rhys Hoskins needing to move back to first, Klentak did what was necessary to remedy the situation.
In December 2018, the Phillies traded Santana and rising infield prospect J.P. Crawford to the Seattle Mariners for infielder Jean Segura, as well as relievers Juan Nicasio and James Pazos. The equivalent of this trade in basketball would be the Philadelphia 76ers trading Al Horford to the Oklahoma City Thunder this past offseason. Horford and Santana just were not good fits for Philadelphia sports.
Segura remains with the Phillies to this day, and projects to be their starting second baseman come Opening Day on April 1. Hoskins was allowed to return to his more natural position at first, which also allowed the Phillies to sign former Most Valuable Player Award winner Andrew McCutchen to play left field.
The Mariners reportedly tried to get one of Zach Eflin, Adonis Medina, and JoJo Romero included in the deal, but Klentak remained firm with just sending them Santana and Crawford. At least Eflin and Romero are expected to make an impact on the 2021 roster, especially Eflin as a middle-of-the-rotation arm.