Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the knee injury that ended Carlos Santana’s fantastic rookie season and by coincidence the Indians are playing a series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, where the home plate collision took place.
Santana hasn’t rediscovered the same success he had prior to Ryan Kalish running him over, but the switch-hitting Indians catcher has still been plenty valuable as a sophomore.
Santana is hitting just .229, which is 31 points lower than his rookie mark, but that poor batting average comes with 15 homers, 19 doubles, and 68 walks in 102 games for a .771 OPS that ranks eighth among the 28 catchers with at least 200 plate appearances.
Cleveland has kept Santana in the lineup more often than other catchers by starting him 33 times at first base, but he’s done a decent job behind the plate with a 4.14 ERA and 22 percent throw-out rate.
Santana hasn’t turned into the immediate MVP candidate some people expected, but that’s tough enough for a young player without having to come back from a major injury and he still ranks 32nd among AL position players in Wins Above Replacement. He’s already very good and still on track to become great.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.
Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.
If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.