Are the Indians really planning to play Carlos Santana at third base?

7 Comments

Last week Carlos Santana told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that he’s been preparing to play third base regularly this season and expects that to be his primary position following a move from catcher.

Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer talked to Indians general manager Chris Antonetti, who was slightly less definitive about the situation:

We have not made a decision at third base. That’s what spring training is for. But Carlos has gotten a tremendous head start due to the work he’s put in this offseason. It started with him working at our complex in the Dominican Republic with our coaches. And it transitioned into winter ball.

I think Carlos has approached it that he wants to work as hard as he can to be the best third baseman he can be. … We feel good about our options there. We continue to believe in Lonnie Chisenhall and his potential. And Carlos can only enhance his impact on the team and our goal of becoming a better ball club.

In addition to Lonnie Chisenhall the Indians also have Mike Aviles as an option at third base, so Hoynes speculates that Santana will have to impress during spring training to win the starting job and the position could end up with a time-sharing arrangement of some sort. Meanwhile, the idea that Yan Gomes is now the Indians’ starting catcher seems to be widely accepted by everyone.

BREAKING: Manny Machado to sign with the Padres: 10 years, $300 million

Getty Images
19 Comments

Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Manny Machado has a deal with the San Diego Padres. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the deal is for ten years and $300 million with an opt-out after year five.

At the moment there is some disagreement as to how “done” this deal is, with Padres chairman Ron Fowler saying “We do not have a deal. We are continuing discussions.” Ken Rosenthal, however, says that’s “semantics” and that the financial terms are in place, with the deal requiring over some final touches on language and Machado’s physical, which will likely be a formality.

The Padres were a late entrant into the Machado sweepstakes, but they reportedly met with Machado last week. The club has obviously not won for a long time, but they have a strong farm system. While that usually mitigates against a big free agent signing, Machado’s age — 26 — means that he’s still likely to be a productive player when that core of prospects is mature. And if it doesn’t develop, hey, he’s made some serious bank and can still opt-out at an age when he might get another decent paycheck.

For the Padres, Machado represents the biggest single investment in a player in club history. Last year they spent too, of course, giving Eric Hosmer an eight-year, $144 million contract, but this is definitely next-level. As for the baseball side of things, it’s likely that Machado will be the full-time third baseman with Luis Urias handling shortstop. While all of the talk about Machado over the past several months has been focused on money and, sometimes, his alleged lack of hustle, the Padres are getting a player with a career line of .282/.335/.487 (121 OPS+), 175 career homers and a 33.8 career WAR in seven big league seasons. While he played shortstop last year and as a minor leaguer, his past and future is at third, where he is a superior defender. As for the hustle: it has almost exclusively been an obsession of the media, based on an ill-advised postgame quote in October. He has received no bad reviews from former teammates, all of whom speak highly of his game and his work ethic.

When the offseason began it appeared that the Phillies or the Yankees or, perhaps, the White Sox had the inside track on Machado. Everyone took a wait-and-see approach, reasonably believing that by waiting out Machado, a better deal could be struck. The risk of that approach, of course, is that it allowed the Padres to talk themselves into getting bold and, ultimately, swooping in to strike this deal.