With free agency on the horizon, veteran DH Carlos Santana has decided to change agents, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports recently reported (via Twitter). Santana, 30, will now be represented by Octagon.
The Indians could conceivably engage Santana’s new representatives about another extension, though that has never seemed particularly likely. A return to Cleveland could still come to pass, especially if the club hangs a qualifying offer on him, but it would rate as a surprise if the sides were to strike a new deal this spring.
Santana’s current deal, signed when he hadn’t even reached his second year of MLB service, wraps up this year. The club picked up a $12MM option for 2017, meaning that the contract ended up paying out $31.8MM over its six-year span, which covered a pair of pre-arbitration years, all three arb campaigns, and one would-be free agent season.
Things have changed quite a bit in the meantime for the switch-hitting Santana. He has been steadily productive offensively, compiling a lifetime .247/.365/.444 slash, but no longer spends any time as a catcher. While he has logged plenty of innings at first and ever some at third base, Santana spent 92 games as the Indians’ DH in 2016.
Landing big bucks has never been harder for defensively limited sluggers, as this last winter’s free agent market showed. But there’s some reason to believe that Santana will find broader demand than some otherwise similar players. He remains relatively youthful, offers the versatility of hitting from both sides of the plate, and still delivers the kind of impeccable plate discipline (99 strikeouts against 99 walks in 2016) that many organizations covet. Notably, Santana was able to maintain that outstanding zone control while hitting a career-best 34 home runs last year.