Trade grades: How much does acquiring Carlos Santana from Kansas City Royals help Seattle Mariners?

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

The trade: The Seattle Mariners acquired first baseman Carlos Santana and cash from the Kansas City Royals for right-handed pitchers Wyatt Mills and William Fleming.

MLB trade season is here! There have been a handful of minor deals since the regular season began, but until Monday, they've all been of the roster-jostling sort in which a team is trying to create space or resolve the status of player who has been designated for assignment. On Monday, we got a real trade: A notable veteran (Santana) is heading for the Mariners, while Seattle sends a pair of pitching prospects back to Kansas City. The Mariners will also receive some cash in the deal to allay some of the salary Santana still has coming in 2022.

OK, it's not "stop the presses" material, but a baseball trade is always interesting -- and this one carries a few more implications than what is obvious on the surface. Let's grade it.

Fitting that it's Jerry Dipoto who gets the in-season trade movement going. The Mariners entered this season optimistic that they were ready to contend for the American League West or, at the very least, one of the many wild-card slots now available to MLB teams. Instead, the Mariners have been kind of all over the place, with alternating periods of hot and cold play.