Domingo Santana
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Mariners acquire Domingo Santana from Brewers

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The Mariners executed another offseason swap on Friday, sending outfielder Ben Gamel and right-handed reliever Noah Zavolas to the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Domingo Santana.

Santana, 27, appeared poised for a full-time role with the Brewers after turning in his first 30-home run, 3.3-fWAR season in 2017. He was booted from the starting lineup after getting crowded out by Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich — and, to a lesser extent, failing to replicate his impressive numbers in the spring of 2018 — and a late-season resurgence just wasn’t enough to stabilize a .265/.328/.412 batting line, five home runs, and 0.7 fWAR across 235 plate appearances in the majors. Despite his noted lack of patience at the plate, one subpar season doesn’t spell the end of a career, and the Mariners will likely give him a longer leash alongside Jay Bruce, Mitch Haniger, and Mallex Smith as they look for his power to resurface in 2019.

The Brewers, meanwhile, will add the left-handed Gamel to their own stacked outfield. Like Santana, the 26-year-old corner outfielder also saw his power zapped at the major-league level in 2018. After hitting double digits in 2017, he sent just one ball into the stands during his latest campaign with the Mariners, and finished the season batting a subdued .272/.358/.370 through 293 PA. It’s unlikely that he’ll see significant time over Keon Broxton, Eric Thames, and Ryan Braun, as well as the aforementioned Yelich and Cain, though his left-handed bat might earn him a few extra looks off the bench throughout 2019.

Milwaukee will also take home minor-league righty Zavolas, who was selected in the 18th round of the 2018 amateur draft. He finished his pro ball debut with a combined 3.03 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 in 38 2/3 innings for Short-Season Everett and High-A Modesto.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.