ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Tampa Bay Rays Communications) — The Tampa Bay Rays have completed a three-team trade with the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners, acquiring infielder Yandy Díaz and minor league right-handed pitcher Cole Sulser from Cleveland in exchange for first baseman Jake Bauers (to Cleveland) and cash considerations (to Seattle).
In addition, the Indians traded designated hitter Edwin Encarnación and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick to Seattle, and the Mariners traded first baseman Carlos Santana and cash considerations to Cleveland.
Díaz, 27, has spent parts of the last two seasons in the majors, appearing in 88 games with 71 starts (42-3B, 20-DH, 6-1B, 3-LF) and batting .283/.361/.366 (75-for-265) with 13 doubles, three triples, one home run and 28 RBI. In 2018, he appeared in 39 games over two stints with the Indians and hit .312/.375/.422 (34-for-109). He spent the remainder of the season with Triple-A Columbus, batting .293/.409/.388 (102-for-348) with three home runs and 40 RBI in 98 games. He finished the season as the International League leader in on-base pct., ranked second with 70 walks and sixth in batting avg.
Over parts of five minor league seasons, Díaz has hit .311/.413/.414 (585-for-1,879) with 26 home runs and 224 RBI. In 2017, he was the Indians Opening Day third baseman and appeared in 49 games for the club, splitting the season between the majors and Triple-A. In 2016, he was named IL Rookie of the Year, leading the league with a .399 on-base pct. and ranking second with a .325 avg. Also that season, he represented the World team in the Futures Game at Petco Park and was named to Baseball America’s Triple-A All-Star Team. In 2015, he was named to both the Eastern League midseason and postseason All-Star teams.
Díaz was signed by the Indians as an international free agent out of Cuba in September 2013. 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.
Sulser, 28, split last season between Double-A Akron and Columbus, going 8-4 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. He was selected by the Indians in the 25th round of the 2013 June Draft out of Dartmouth College and is 20-26 with a 4.02 ERA (378.1-IP, 169-ER) in 176 apps (37 starts) over five minor league seasons.
Bauers, 23, hit .201/.316/.384 (65-for-323) with 11 home runs and 48 RBI in 96 games for the Rays last season, his first career major league action. He was recalled from Triple-A Durham on June 7 and remained with the club for the remainder of the season. He was the youngest player to appear for the 2018 Rays, a team that featured 23 rookies. When he debuted at 22 years, 244 days, he was the youngest position player to appear in a game for the Rays since Wil Myers in 2013. He was selected by the San Diego Padres in the seventh round of the 2013 June Draft and was acquired by the Rays in a three-team trade in December 2014.