The Indians are are apparently willing to explore the idea.

With Yan Gomes earning the right to be the everyday catcher because of his sterling defense and plus bat, the Indians are being proactive in finding ways to keep Carlos Santana’s bat in the lineup. But Nick Swisher is best-suited for first base and Santana is not at all the kind of guy you want running down screamers in the gap.

So the Indians are considering turning back the clock on Carlos’ career. It’s no secret that third base has been plug-and-play position for way too long.  With more swing and misses at the position than Mark Reynolds (whose own experiment ended up being like that of a sudden firecracker exploded quickly and ended up being something a little more than a measly sparkler all in the span of just a few months), consisting largely of players who couldn’t be counted on to man the position long-term.

Point being, it’s been a while since the Indians have had Travis Fryman. Or a guy that’s capable of producing a decent amount like Casey Blake, who the Indians traded Santana for. This should make Lonnie Chisenhall very, very nervous, because it’s becoming apparent that the organization is losing faith in him.

(I could have told them that, but I digress.)

Santana was brought up through the Dodgers system as a third baseman, so there is a familiarity at the hot corner.  However, the Indians are rightfully cautioning everyone to pump the breaks a tad on the idea. While the team is hoping that Santana ultimately agrees to spend the Winter Leagues working at the hot corner, this is more than just muscle memory at play.

It does the team no good to have a potent offensive force banished to back-up duty, so this could be the move to make. We’ll see where this is headed in a few months.


  • DaveR says:

    I approve.

  • The Doctor says:

    aha! i was just recently suggesting this on another article – i think it was the piece about gomes being crowned the every day catcher.

    i doubt this will become something he does at the major league level, but it’s worth pursuing as chisenhall continues to devolve into laporta 2.0

  • Chris H says:

    Hi all.

    I look at this through a kind of arbitrage lens: Santana is likely worth more to someone else as their catcher than he is to Cleveland as their third-baseman (or certainly first-baseman or DH). Which suggests the correct move would be to trade him to a team needing a catcher – assuming they have something Cleveland wants.

    That’s a big assumption, of course – the reason arbitrage works in finance is because the existence of money makes the transactions work. But this has essentially been the Rays’ MO under their current ownership.

    (There are all sorts of other assumptions here; I’m kinda ignoring Santana’s defensive abilities at catcher. I’m ignoring the Indians’ desire to win now and not have an asset three years from now. I’m mostly ignoring that Santana will give Cleveland roughly 40-50 games at catcher besides whatever other position he plays. etc, etc.)

    This same argument could be made for Stubbs or Brantley, btw, who would be worth more to some team needing a centerfielder than they are in the corners for Cleveland. I fully expect to see that deal happen before April.


  • TribeTime33 says:

    I wouldn’t be opposed to this but, I still think we need to give Lonnie another year. He is only 24/25 years old! To many times have the Indians given up on a young prospect. Personally, I wish they would have given Matt LaPorta one more full year before giving up on him. Now if we get into next year and Lonnie stinks, then yes lets make a move! A bigger concern for me is our bullpen which has been a strong point for the Indians since 2008. We lost Joe Smith who has been our best bullpen man for the past 3 years and we don’t have a closer. I think this is a much bigger issue.

    • Chris Burnham says:

      Whose bat would you prefer in the lineup on an everyday basis? I doubt anyone would say Lonnie, and he hasn’t made it a hard decision for them to make.

  • medfest says:

    Santana’s future is as a DH who can fill in at catcher ,first base and in a pinch third base,as long as Gomes isn’t a one season mirage.

    A player with his hitting skills is valuable no matter what position he plays,doubly so since he is signed to a team friendly contract(29.75 million over the next four seasons).Trading him now is not a smart or a money making move.

    Since Chisenchump has impressed no one there is little harm in seeing if Santana can handle the hot corner on a short term basis.Gotta have a plan B and a plan C.

  • Sean Porter says:

    I guess I’m in the minority here, but the idea of Santana manning the hot corner literally makes me dry heave. I could be totally wrong, but all I can picture is his half-hearted attempts to block balls in the dirt, etc behind the plate – and he knows the pitches are coming to him! Now I’m picturing him flailing away in an attempt to field a bunt. Yikes.

    While we are on the topic of third basemen, why is it that traditionally it is one of the hardest positions in baseball to find a good player? What is it about that position? The list of Hall of Fame third sackers is slim.

    • medfest says:

      Third base is the most demanding position on the diamond aside from catcher.
      You constantly play in,have to field bunts,be able to handle hard hit shots and nasty short hops,make awkward throws from odd angles side arm and underhanded,be able throw an overhand rope to first on balls hit down the line etc.

      And teams expect more offense from third than from the middle infield spots.During the dead ball era it was primarily a defense first position and that attitude continued into the forties,resulting in the dearth of HOF candidates at the position.That and the physical demands of the position lead to relatively short non HOF careers(Fryman and Matt Williams are two local examples of that).

      You have to look no farther the Detroit to see that playing third hurt Cabrera immensely this past season and may have shortened his career.

  • Chris Burnham says:

    The only other option is the regular DH, and I’m not sure either side wants to commit to that.

    • Sean Porter says:

      Perhaps something along the lines of Santana catching 60 games as Gomes’ backup, playing 20 games at first to give Swisher a day off or let him dh, and dh’ing the other half of the season?

      • medfest says:

        I’d say having a good hitter who can give 30-40 games behind the plate and at first,and fill in a bit at third while being your regular DH is a valuable commodity.

        Let’s remember Gomes is no solid lock to repeat his season either offensively or defensively.Santana is pretty good insurance policy.

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