Carlos Santana is going to get some reps at first base for the Indians


The Indians are going to give catcher Carlos Santana the Victor Martinez treatment:

Next thing on Santana’s spring-training checklist is learning how to play first base. Eduardo Perez and Mike Hargrove, former first basemen and recently hired by the Indians, will help him in the weeks to come.

Santana — who played third when he was in the Dodgers organization — is expected to play some Cactus League games at first, but there’s no plan to actually give him time at first during the regular season.

At least for now. It would devalue his bat an awful lot to move him from behind the plate — the most valuable defensive position — to first base — the least valuable one.  But it’s also the case that (a) Santana’s bat could reasonably carry first base anyway; and (b) he’s not the best catcher the world has ever seen.

I don’t know what the defensive metrics or scouting reports say about him, but I watched him catch several times in Columbus last year, sitting right behind home plate.  My sense: he’s kinda shaky.  He does little things that make you feel like he’s not comfortable. He stands up out of his squat between pitches more than a lot of guys do. He shifts around and reaches for balls more.  Maybe a lot of that is his pitching staff, but he doesn’t seem like a born catcher in any real way apart from his physique.

You give Santana every chance imaginable to catch of course, but teaching him a little first base ain’t the worst idea in the world.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.