Still waiting on Indians' Carlos Santana

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While Stephen Strasburg and Mike Stanton made their much hyped debuts on Tuesday, one of the game’s other top-five prospects, Carlos Santana, has been left in Triple-A to continue his harassment of International League pitchers.
The 24-year-old Santana is hitting .314/.447/.580 with 12 homers and 47 RBI in 188 at-bats for Triple-A Columbus. He’s walked six more times than he’s struck out (44 to 38), and he’s even 6-for-6 stealing bases. He ranks third in the International League in OPS behind veteran first basemen Dan Johnson and Chris Richard. Only Mike Hessman and Johnson have hit more homers.
Meanwhile, Lou Marson has batted .193/.262/.267 as the Indians’ starting catcher. He finally contributed his first homer last week, but that’s his only hit in his last 22 at-bats.
Of course, there is a reason Santana wasn’t hauled up as soon as the Indians were sure he wouldn’t be a super-two player after 2012; he’s not the defender that Marson is behind the plate. He throws out less than a quarter of would-be basestealers, and his game-calling skills continue to leave something to be desired.
Santana isn’t going to be moved off catcher — he may always be below average defensively, but he also doesn’t embarrass himself. The Indians will just continue to be patient with him. His opportunity may come immediately after the All-Star break or in August. Victor Martinez didn’t establish himself in the majors until age 25. Santana, a similar all-around talent, is on a seemingly identical path. He’s not going to be a threat to hit .300 annually like Martinez, but he should have some 25-homer seasons even while sitting about once a week.

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.

As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.

Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

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This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.

The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.

Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.

Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.