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.