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Rays trade 1B Jake Bauers for 3B Yandy Diaz in 3-team deal

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Tampa Bay sends Jake Bauers to Cleveland and receives Yandy Diaz and a player to be named later.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the Winter Meetings come to a close, the Rays made another big splash, landing infielder Yandy Diaz and a player to be named later for first baseman Jake Bauers.

To put it lightly, this is a shock.

Cleveland is also reacquiring first baseman Carlos Santana — who was traded from Philadelphia to Seattle earlier this month — and sending designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion to the Mariners with a competitive balance draft pick.

The full three team trade, per the team press release, is as follows.

Tampa Bay receives:

  • 3B Yandy Diaz (CLE)
  • RHRP Cole Sulser (CLE)

Cleveland receives:

  • 1B Jake Bauers (TB)
  • 1B Carlos Santana (SEA)
  • cash considerations (SEA)

Seattle receives:

  • DH Edwin Encarnacion (CLE)
  • competitive balance draft pick (CLE)
  • cash considerations (TB)

Yandy Diaz, 27, has played 88 career games for Cleveland, appearing mostly at third base with some additional time in left field and at first base. In 120 plate appearances last season, he batted .312 with a .375 on-base percentage and .422 slugging percentage, good for a 115 wRC+ in 2018.

Diaz offers the Rays more positional flexibility and a right handed hitter who has excelled across all levels. He signed with Cleveland in 2013 after defecting from Cuba. He played professionally in Cuba and was a member of the Cuban National Team for several years. Born in Sagua la Grande, Cuba, he will be the 11th Cuban-born player in Rays history.

In his five-year minor league career, Diaz is a .311 hitter with a .413 OBP and .414 SLG,. he has demonstrated an impressive plate approach with more walks than strikeouts, but lacks the long ball.

Jake Bauers, 23, just completed his rookie season for the Rays and was expected to be a key part of the team’s future. Despite batting just .201 with a .316 OBP and .384 SLG, he hit 11 home runs and had stretches where he showed significant upside and plus raw power for his age.

The other name of note is Sulser, 28, who split last season between Double- and Triple-A with a 3.86 ERA (60.2-IP, 26-ER) and 95 strikeouts in 47 appearances, all in relief. He has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen over the last two seasons, combining for a 3.27 ERA (124-IP, 45-ER) in 92 apps.