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.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.