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Indians re-acquire Carlos Santana

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Jake Bauers also joins team, with Edwin Encarnacion and Yandy Diaz departing

Japan v MLB All Stars - Game 4 Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

UPDATE: Officially official.

The 2018 Winter Meetings looked quiet for the Indians, until it didn’t, that is.

The Tribe made a splash Thursday morning, bringing Carlos Santana back to the shores of Lake Erie along with Jake Bauers. As good as a ‘Los reunion will be, however, the three-team deal was a bittersweet one, as our beloved Yandy Diaz was sent to Tampa and Edwin Encarnacion departs for Seattle.

Jon Heyman was first on the news, with Cleveland sources quickly confirming the deal. The details of the deal are still emerging, but the principal pieces for the Indians appear to be clear.

In moving Encarnacion, the Tribe clears $25 million off the books ($20 million for 2019 plus a $5 million buyout). Santana, has two years left on his deal with $35 million guaranteed ($17m in ‘19, $17.5m in ‘20, $0.5m buyout or $17.5m option for ‘21) but does represent a savings of $8 million for the 2019 season. Santana also represents an overall upgrade on Encarnacion, with Steamer projecting 2.5 WAR for Santana versus 1.4 for Encarnacion.

Diaz, on the other hand, is still three years from arbitration and was the Indians third baseman for 2019 as of just a few days ago. Steamer projected him to be worth 2.3 WAR in the coming season. Instead, Cleveland acquired another first baseman in the form of Bauers, who flashed more traditional power than Diaz but looks a lot like the guy currently manning first base for the Tribe, Yonder Alonso, right down to Steamer projections (0.9 WAR for Bauers, 1.0 for Alonso).

While the deal is yet to be finalized, the Bauers-Alonso situation also makes it seem like this deal will not be the last Cleveland makes. Of course, I don’t need to remind you the Tribe has not traded any pitchers yet, either. This could be the beginning of a busy period for the team, with deals that some will like and others will hate. But I think we can all agree on one thing, it’s great to have Carlos Santana in Cleveland again.