Posted on November 19, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine

Cleveland Indians Carlos Santana

Image via espn.com

Much of the baseball offseason thus far has revolved around the Marlins possibly trading Giancarlo Stanton. There has also been a good amount of focus on J.D. Martinez. However, one of the other free agents who figures to land a lucrative contract is Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana. After receiving and then declining a qualifying offer from the Indians, Santana is officially on the open market. Early in the offseason, the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies appear to be making the hardest push to sign Santana.

The Red Sox have let it be known that they’re in the market for a power hitter. Both Stanton and Martinez are near the top of their wish list. However, Santana would make sense as a backup plan or a more cost-effective option. Santana has hit 57 home runs over the past two seasons, giving Boston a boost in that department. Of course, he doesn’t provide as much power as Stanton or Martinez. He would also provide them an option at first base after parting ways with Mitch Moreland. At the moment, there’s uncertainty over whether Hanley Ramirez will be able to handle first base in 2018.

The Phillies, meanwhile, are a more surprising contender for Santana. Philadelphia already has Rhys Hoskins and Tommy Joseph as first baseman. Hoskins was sensational in August and September, hitting 18 home runs in a short period of time. The Phillies could potentially trade Joseph and move Hoskins to left field in order to make room for Santana. But without a DH in the National League, it’d be hard to imagine the Phillies making a serious push for Santana.

Of course, it’s early enough in the offseason for other teams to become involved. for instance, the Angels are looking to add more pop to their lineup this offseason. They could easily make room for Santana at first base.

With Eric Hosmer set to leave in free agency, the Royals are likely to be in the market for a first baseman. Santana figures to be considerably cheaper than Hosmer, making him a viable replacement in Kansas City.

It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cardinals make an effort to sign Santana. St. Louis is one of the favorites to trade for Stanton. But if they don’t get him, Santana would be a suitable fallback plan.

Somehow, Santana has been a forgotten man this offseason. With so much attention going to Stanton and Martinez, it’s understandable. But based on his production the past two seasons, he could still make an impact for a team in need of a first baseman. He’s also the best defensive first baseman available on the free agent market this winter.

In all likelihood, Santana won’t sign with a team until Martinez and Hosmer sign, and he may also have to wait until Stanton is traded. But a market is already starting to develop for his services, and the team that eventually signs him is going to get a great player at a good price.

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