Cleveland Indians: Carlos Santana to the American League West?

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Carlos Santana
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 09: Carlos Santana /

If Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana does not re-sign with the team, he could find his way to California.

I would describe the Cleveland Indians‘ offseason so far pretty frustrating and disappointing. That will only increase if they do not keep at least some of their core free agents together, with Carlos Santana leading the way.

Cleveland’s best first base option is Santana.

However, he declined their qualifying offer and could prefer a different team. Since he is now looking at other options, the Indians’ must pull out all the stops to retain Santana. Otherwise, Cleveland’s opening day first baseman would likely be a severe downgrade from what Santana has provided.

Plenty of intriguing and interest has surrounded Japanese star outfielder and pitcher Shohei Ohtani. Cleveland is no longer in the running but seven teams are, including one who could impact Santana’s destination.

MLB Network‘s Jon Morosi explained how the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angeles are busy as they hope to sign not only Ohtani but also Santana:

It is unknown how many are trying to sign Santana. That said, the Angels could very well add both of those players.

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Not because the Angels are willing to spend money, but because nearly all the money they would have to spend would go to Ohtani’s current team, rather than the player.

Regardless if Ohtani joins the Angels or not, I believe Santana is or will become a backup plan for LAA. There are too many pieces that would need to be figured out if both were added in terms of playing time right now.

Therefore, until Ohtani signs, don’t expect much else regarding the free agent market. That can bold well for the Indians as they continue to do what they can to re-sign Santana.

On the other hand, since Santana and others are likely to make their decisions after Ohtani’s, other teams could entice Santana more in the meantime.

If Cleveland doesn’t retain Santana, it’s anyone’s guess where he could land. In addition to the Angels, the Seattle Mariners have been discussed, along with the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox.

By signing with the Angels, Santana would remain in the same setup as he’s been in. Most of the time, he’d play the field but would occasionally be replaced by Albert Pujols and be their designated hitter.

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Hopefully, Santana does not leave the Tribe in favor of one of those teams. If he were to leave, Cleveland needs to have a concrete plan to replace him. If they don’t, the result would be like the Michael Martinez and Michael Brantley signings.