The Royals just officially announced the signing of veteran 34 year old first baseman Carlos Santana, to a 2 year 17.5 million dollar contract, with incentives. Santana is coming off of a down year in 2020, but still found a way to contribute, posting a league leading 47 BB, leading to a high .349 OBP. His other stats on the other hand, were well down from his career average numbers, as he ended with a .199 BA, .350 SLG, and an .699 OPS.
Santana, the 2019 Silver Slugger award winner, is staying in the AL Central, where he has spent all of but one seasons in, outside of his hiatus in Philadelphia in 2018. As a member of the Cleveland Indians, Santana totaled 216 home runs with the franchise, that ranks him fifth all time in home runs in team history. Along with that, Santana enjoyed a good deal of success with the Indians in his time with the team from 2010-2017 and 2019-2020, ending with a .812 OPS across over 6400 plate appearances in Cleveland.
The converted catcher, Santana switched to first base and DH duties after the conclusion of the 2014 season. Since making the move, Santana has been an average defender at first base, seeing his season by season DRS numbers go up and down, but ends his time in Cleveland with a positive DRS at 5 for his career.
The Kansas City Royals, appear to be making a conscious effort to become more competitive team in a division that includes the powerhouse Twins and White Sox, the confusing Indians, and the bottom feeding Tigers. After signing Santana today, this is how their lineup currently is shaping up to look in 2021, according to FanGraphs.com:
RF: Whit Merrifield
SS: Adalberto Mondesi
C: Salvador Perez
1B: Carlos Santana
DH: Jorge Soler
3B: Hunter Dozier
LF: Franchy Cordero
CF: Michael A. Taylor
SS: Nicky Lopez
While this team might still have some holes, it is definitely no longer a cake walk for teams when they see the Royals on the schedule, especially with an improved starting rotation that now includes Mike Minor.
The Royals are making moves, which is a good sign moving forward for the franchise that hasn’t played much competitive baseball since their championship in 2015.