Indians first baseman, Carlos Santana, has a huge decision to make in the coming weeks. He is a free agent, of course, after another solid year for the Indians. He hit .259, hit in 79 and blasted 23 homers. Additionally, his eye at the plate has always been there. He walked 88 times, which is actually the lowest since his rookie season in 2010.
One aspect to Santana’s game that he mastered is playing defense at first base. It seemed like nothing could get past him this year and he would pick any tough throw coming his way.
He led AL first basemen in:
Defensive Runs Saved
Double plays started
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) November 10, 2017
It is expected that the veteran is going to decline the Indians’ 17.4 million dollar qualifying offer for the upcoming season and is going to test the market.
Obviously, there is going to be interest for a corner infielder that plays good defense, has solid power and a good eye at the plate. It’s all just a matter of what the Indians are willing to pay to keep him here.
Nearly a dozen teams are in pursuit of Santana, but I definitely believe the Indians have the upper hand. He has a clear starting spot at 1st base, the Tribe is and will be a winning team and he’s been here his entire career.
A team would have to give him a huge offer in order for him to pack his bags and leave the city that made him into who he is today.
My colleagues have suggested a reasonable contract would be for three years and in the 40-50 million dollar range. The big question will be if the Indians will try and match a giant offer or just let the first baseman go.
There’s also the RF Jay Bruce question. He’s another member of the Tribe asking for big money as a free agent. Was he just a rental, or does the team plan to keep him? It would definitely have to be one or the other.
Regardless, Carlos Santana has been one of my favorite players throughout my teenage years. I hope he is able to stay in Cleveland, but I will respect the decision he makes.
Losing Santana would be a big blow to the team, but the Indians have other people able to take over the position, maybe just not as well. There’s Edwin Encarnacion, who is much better off as a DH or even Lonnie Chisenhall has played the position before. Someone suggested that maybe even 3B Yandy Diaz could learn the position.
If I’m in the Indians front office, I do everything I can to keep Santana in Cleveland. He is crucial to another run at the World Series after last season’s epic collapse against the New York Yankees.
For now, we wait.
Follow the author: @ShafOnSports