Slugger Domingo Santana is crossing the Pacific for the 2021 season, according to a report from MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter). The veteran outfielder is said to have agreed to a contract with Japan’s Yakult Swallows, the details of which remain unknown at this time.
Santana, 28, returned to the open market recently when the Indians declined a club option. He’ll now hope for a resurgence in Nippon Professional Baseball, the top level of play outside of North America.
While he has generally been a productive hitter in the majors, Santana hasn’t always done quite enough damage to make up for his defensive limitations. At his best — in 2017 with the Brewers — he swatted thirty long balls and turned in a full season of 126 wRC+ hitting, making it easy to overlook the questionable work in the outfield grass. At his work — in 2020 with the Indians — a rough offensive stretch left Santana a below-replacement-level performer.
It’s not difficult to imagine a prodigious offensive output from Santana in Japan. He’s still rather young and has typically reached base at a solid enough clip to tamp down any worries with his usually hefty strikeout tally.