Normally when you have a good-hitting catcher who doesn’t profile as a Gold Glover, you think about making him a DH or a first baseman. The Indians aren’t doing that with Carlos Santana, however. Paul Hoynes reports that they’ve talked to him about playing third base down in the Dominican Republic this year and have him taking ground balls at third as a part of his offseason workouts.
Yan Gomes took over the Indians’ catching job late in the season and was lights-out in 322 plate appearances, and clearly Cleveland would love to have both of their bats available. First base isn’t an option because of Nick Swisher and, with a camp invite for Jason Giambi for 2014, DH may be occupied too (it’s a good place to give Swisher a breather as well). Also worth noting that the Indians have a catching prospect named Fransico Mejia who, while still only 18, is supposed to a beast, so it’s not like flipping Gomes, for example, would solve the problem long-term. Mejia could have that job in a few short years.
Santana and Gomes splitting time behind the dish, Santana playing DH a lot and, when he can’t, spotting at third base? I suppose stranger things have happened. But given the overall impression Santana’s defensive skills give a guy, don’t hold your breath until you see him playing the hot corner in a major league game.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.