Jon Heyman has reported that the Mets are showing some interest in free agent first baseman Carlos Santana. Santana was given a qualifying offer sheet by the Cleveland Indians, but reports have it that he is likely to reject the 1-year/$17.4M offer. With that being said, will the Mets be wise to go after Santana?
Carlos Santana will be 32-years old when the 2018 season begins, which will be his 9th MLB season. He has been one of the main reasons for the Indians’ resurgence over the past couple of seasons. Santana has posted 18+ homers and 70+ RBIs in every year besides his rookie year in which he only played in 46 games. His average has never been very high, but he has been one of the more consistent players in the MLB throughout his career. He also had a career year two years ago with the Indians when he smashed 34 homers to go along with 87 RBIs and a .259 batting average.
What is overlooked most when it comes to Santana is his ability to get on base and make things happen at the plate. Santana has never had on OBP of lower than .351 in his career. His career low of .351 came in his first full season in the majors. He has finished top 10 in this category twice in his career, while currently ranked 19th among active players with a .365 OBP. He has finished top 10 in times on base three times in his career. He has finished top ten in this category each of the last two seasons. In 2016 he reached base 252 times, while this past year he reached base 242 times. On top of that, Santana has been in the top 10 each year in walks besides his rookie year, once again he only played in 46 games in his rookie season. In his last two seasons he has cut down on the strikeouts as well, as he struck out less than 100 times in each of the past two seasons.
While Carlos Santana is primarily a first baseman, he has the ability to play other positions. When he came into the league he was a primary catcher, he played third for 26 games in 2014, and he has played some time at the corner outfield positions throughout his career. However, he would most likely be manning 1B for the Mets if he were to sign with them. In 546 career games at first base Santana has only made 25 errors, which gives him a fielding percentage of .995 at the positions. Looking deeper into defensive numbers, Santana was first in the league last year with 13 total zone runs at first base, while finishing third in this category the prior year.
All in all, Carlos Santana is a very underrated and underappreciated player. He has been one of the more consistent players in baseball throughout his career, while being one of the top defensive first basemen in baseball the last two seasons. On top of that, Santana is very durable. He has played in 150 games in all, but two seasons in the pros. Santana is extremely reliable and he should not come with a hefty price tag. I can see Santana signing for around 3-4 years and in the $45-60M price range. The only downside is that the Mets would have to forfeit their second highest draft pick in the next MLB draft since the Indians extended the Qualifying Offer to Santana. However, if the Mets want to return to the postseason these are the type of moves they have to make. Dominic Smith did not impress in his short time with the Mets last year and they do not have any other options besides him for the upcoming season. I think it would be a very smart move for the Mets if they are able to stay at or below a 4-year/$60M contract.
Lineup With Santana
- Amed Rosario, SS
- Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
- Michael Conforto *, CF
- Yoenis Cespedes, LF
- Carlos Satana, 1B
- Wilmer Flores, 3B
- Travis d’Arnaud, C
- Brandon Nimmo, RF
The lineup definitely needs some work, but this would be a step in the right direction for the Mets.