Cleveland Indians: Carlos Santana returns in surprising three-team trade

The Cleveland Indians made a big move Thursday afternoon via a three-team trade that sees a former fan favorite returning to town.

The Cleveland Indians were only a part of rumors this week at the MLB Winter Meetings. Then it all went wild just a little big ago.

The Indians were rumored to be offering up both Edwin Encarnacion and Yandy Diaz in trades. Well, it just so happened they were traded at the same time.

Whoa!

Carlos Santana is returning to the Indians after a year away, while Edwin Encarnacion has been shipped out to Seattle and Yandy Diaz is off to Tampa. Although the latest reports seem to indicate that Encarnacion could also end up with the Rays. Either way, he is no longer in Cleveland.

In addition to Santana, the Indians added Jake Bauers, who figures to start either at first base or in the outfield this season.

So that is a lot to take in. Santana will return and seemingly take up space at either first base or DH in 2019. Unless Bauers assumes that role and Santana is in the outfield. Yonder Alonso is also still on the roster.

The trade of Diaz to Tampa has a lot of fans angry, and I get both sides. He seemed to get a raw deal in Cleveland and never got a full-time shot to prove himself. From the Indians’ standpoint, Bauers is several years younger and if Jason Kipnis isn’t going anywhere, they can put Bauers in several positions.

Still, there are the fears with Diaz that came to fruition with Jesus Aguilar.

The Indians added Encarnacion after the 2016 World Series run as an upgrade over Mike Napoli. He put up solid numbers, but was never the difference-maker that took the team to that next level.

The Indians didn’t save a ton of money by swapping Encarnacion for Santana, but clearly they like Santana enough to pay him the money they didn’t want to offer up a season ago.

News on the situation continues to come out so we will continue with updates and reaction throughout the day.

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Next: Could team actually sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper?

This is the move for all those fans who said they were bored with the lack of action this week.