The MLB Hot Stove has never been warmer at any point this off-season than it is right now. The Milwaukee Brewers, the Blue Jays old nemesis from back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, have traded for Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain. It’s a crazy series of moves that now puts potential stud Keon Broxton in AAA or as a 4th outfielder off the bench and 30 home run, .371 OBP Domingo Santana on the trading block. Yes, the Blue Jays should at least inquire on Santana.
Domingo Santana would be a big upgrade over what the Blue Jays currently have slated to roll out in both left and centre field. Defensively, he is not an upgrade, but he would instantly add 30+ home run pop to the outfield, something they may also get with newly acquired Randal Grichuk. In 2017, Santana hit 30 home runs, drove in 85, stole 15 bases, and slashed .278/.371/.505 with a 126 wRC+. He also walked 12.0% of the time, which shows he can take a base despite his near 30.0% K rate.
Santana absolutely crushes baseballs as evidenced by his 39.7% hard contact and 89.3 MPH exit velocity on his balls. For a guy who has a career 29.3% HR/FB rate, if Santana is able to elevate the ball consistently, he could be a 40+ home run bat.
Overall, Santana was worth 3.3 wins and if his defense wasn’t so poor, his 2017 season likely could have been closer to 4.0 or higher. He had a very good season in 2017, which would be a massive boost to the Toronto Blue Jays outfield.
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Now, the question would be how the Blue Jays can acquire Santana, because the latest reports have the Brewers dangling Santana and Brett Phillips for pitching. The Blue Jays do have pitching, but it’s unlikely that they part with any of their four horses in Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, and Marco Estrada. The moves by the Milwaukee Brewers clearly show that they’re in contend mode, so they wouldn’t be interested in prospect arms. The Blue Jays would need to move a piece from the MLB rotation, which I’d find surprising if they did.
Hypothetically, if the Blue Jays were to add Domingo Santana, the possibilities of where they would go from there are endless. They’d have Santana, Grichuk, Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera, Steve Pearce, and Curtis Granderson at the MLB level. They’d also have Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey, and Dwight Smith Jr. waiting in the wings. That’s a serious clog of outfielders but it’s a great thing to have options and give Ross Atkins a puzzle to fix.
The Blue Jays could move some of their outfielders and a prospect or two to replace a starter that would be moved to get Domingo Santana. If the Blue Jays moved on from a MLB starter, it would likely be J.A. Happ, who the Brewers had interest in this past deadline. However, Santana could fetch better than Happ and throw in the fact that the lefty only has one year remaining on his deal, the Brewers likely wouldn’t go for Happ as the main starter. I’d still listen on it if they were interested.
If the Brewers and Blue Jays worked something out where Happ was the main guy going to Milwaukee, the Blue Jays could have money freed up from Happ and a surplus of outfielders to sign a free agent starter like an Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn to replace him, and make a trade for a starter to have Joe Biagini start in Buffalo.
There are so many hypothetical situations that could become of a potential acquisition of Domingo Santana and they’re all exciting to think about. If the Blue Jays can put something together to acquire Santana, I’m all for it, as it opens up so many possibilities for trades or free agency and adds a bonafide bat to the outfield mix.
With the Milwaukee Brewers adding Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, they’re already reportedly dangling Domingo Santana. The Blue Jays should absolutely be involved and see what it would take to add the outfielder. It would be a welcome addition to the 2018 Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, it may appear as if they don’t lineup in terms of current needs to the MLB rosters, but it would be fantastic to see.