Jake Bauers Offers Flexibility
As Indians officials boarded their plane from Las Vegas at the conclusion of the Winter Meetings, they also concluded a three-team trade in which they acquired 23-year-old Jake Bauers from the Rays and 32-year-old Carlos Santana from the Mariners.
First base is the natural position of both players acquired by the Indians—Bauers and Santana—so Cleveland followed its three-team trade by dealing away incumbent first baseman Yonder Alonso to the White Sox.
The Alonso trade clears room for Bauers, who played mostly first base for the Rays after his early-June callup, but he also started a total of 20 games in left field and right field.
"We like the fact that he can play both (first base and the outfield),” president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti. "He’s an above-average defender at first base, but he also has experience in the outfield, and can play out there, if that’s where we have the opportunity.”
Bauers entered 2018 ranked as the No. 4 prospect in the Rays’ system. He began the year at Triple-A Durham, but when called to the majors he produced through his first 50 big league games, batting .242/.347/.500 with nine home runs.
Bauers hit just .149 with two homers in his final 46 games but still led all American League rookies with 54 walks and ranked fourth in doubles with 22.
The Padres drafted Bauers out of high school in Huntington Beach, Calif., in the seventh round in 2013, then traded him to the Rays after the 2014 season as part of a three-team deal for Wil Myers.
"He is a productive and versatile major league player," Antonetti said, "who not only will contribute to our team in 2019, but will enhance the versatility of our roster."