Kansas City Royals first baseman Carlos Santana could be an intriguing option as a bat for the Colorado Rockies
Like Andrew Benintendi, first baseman Carlos Santana is entering the final season of his contract with the Kansas City Royals as the Royals signed him for a two-year deal last offseason.
Santana, who turns 36 in April, has been very reliable throughout his career as since his first full season (2011), as 2012 was the only full length season where he didn’t play in at least 154 games and that season, he was Cleveland’s primary catcher.
He has never been a great contact hitter (.245 career average) but, despite being a catcher for most of the first five years of his career, he has usually been toward the top of the lineup due to his great eye at the plate. He has drawn at least 86 walks in each full length season in the majors (and he led the AL in walks in the shortended 2020 season with 47). In fact, the worse on-base percentage he ever had prior to 2021 was in 2020, when he still had an OBP of .349.
In 2021, he struggled as he hit .214/.319/.342 with an OPS+ of 79. But considering that in 2019, he was an All-Star, won a Silver Slugger Award, and got MVP votes after he hit 34 homers and had 93 RBI with a slash line of .281/.397/.515, and an OPS+ of 136, perhaps he could be worth taking a gamble on, especially if Kansas City is willing to eat some of his salary (he is owed $10.5 million).
Additionally, Santana could see less playing time in 2022 since Royals #2 prospect (MLB.com’s #65 overall prospect) Nick Pratto. He hit 36 homers and had 98 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A last year. In Triple-A (63 games), he had an OPS of 1.001. In other words, he’s going to be in the majors some time in 2022.
Since he’s first baseman at this stage of his career, the Rockies would have to either use Santana as a bench bat or in a platoon at DH and first with C.J. Cron but Santana is still good defensively (7 DRS between 2020 and 2021).