15 years ago this month, Philadelphia signed away the first baseman of the Cleveland Indians when Jim Thome left for the “City of Brotherly Love”.
15 years later, the Phillies signed away the Indians first baseman once again.
First baseman Carlos Santana agreed to a three year, $60 million dollar deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday afternoon. The deal also includes an option year for $17.5 million.
His agent told reporters that he’d give Cleveland an opportunity to counter offer the deal but with the team already at $92.1 million in committed salaries, they obviously couldn’t or didn’t want to pay out that much for Santana.
Reports surfaced earlier in the week that the team offered Santana before free agency a three year deal worth $36 million but that was before he officially hit the market. The team also offered him the one year, $17.4 million qualifying offer which he declined.
Santana came to the Indians organization in 2008 when they acquired him from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Casey Blake. He spent eight seasons on the major league level, hitting a lifetime average of .249 with 174 home runs (most by a switch hitter in franchise history) and 587 RBIs (16th in franchise history).
Last season, he showed how he’s improved as a fielder on the first base side being named a finalist for the American League Golden Glove Award at that position. He also hit .259 with 23 home runs and 79 RBIs.
He was also a durable player for the Indians. Outside of his rookie season which came to an end when he broke his leg, he played in at least 143 games in his seven full-time seasons.
Being apart of the core that included Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley among others, Santana helped lead the Tribe to three postseason appearances including the American League pennant in 2016 and taking the Indians to within one run of it’s first World Series championship since 1948.
The team will receive a compensatory draft pick for losing Santana. The pick will fall between the first round and the Competitive Balance Round A in the 2018 MLB Draft.
Now the Indians will be looking for a viable replacement. Logan Morrison was mentioned as a potential option and I also listed some potential replacements here.
Indians sign Upton to minor league deal
The Indians signed Melvin (B.J.) Upton to a minor league deal with a spring training invitation on Friday morning.
Upton, who was the 2nd overall pick in the 2002 MLB Draft will earn a salary of $1.5 million if he makes the big league roster.
He’s a 12 year veteran in baseball, spending time with Tampa Bay, Atlanta, San Diego and Toronto with Tampa Bay being his main team as he spent eight seasons with the Rays after they drafted him in 2002.
He’s a career .243 hitter with 164 home runs, 586 RBIs and 300 stolen bases.
Last season, he played in 149 games between San Diego and Toronto. He hit .256 with 16 home runs, 45 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 92 games with San Diego. In 57 games with Toronto, he hit .196 with 4 home runs, 16 RBIs and seven stolen bases.
In 19 career games at Progressive Field, he’s a .216 hitter with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs.
It’s a simple “low risk, high reward” signing which has worked out for the Indians in recent years. Guys like Austin Jackson and Jason Giambi are among the few that achieved success after taking the spring training invite and eventually making the opening day roster.
As for Austin Jackson, the signing of Upton doesn’t mean he won’t be back. Jackson met with the Indians on Tuesday to discuss a return so don’t be surprised if they bring him back because he played a big role with the team’s success last season.