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Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Carlos Santana, Kansas City Royals reach 2-year deal

First baseman Carlos Santana and the Kansas City Royals are in agreement on a two-year, $17 million deal, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday.

The Royals had been heavy in the first base market and get a veteran with power and on-base skills.

Santana became a free agent after his $17.5 million option for 2021 was declined after the season as part of a payroll purge by the Cleveland Indians.

The slugger struggled in his second season back in Cleveland after leaving as a free agent to join the Philadelphia Phillies in 2018. The switch-hitter had a career-low .199 batting average in 2020 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs in 60 games during the pandemic-shortened season, but he still had a .349 on-base percentage in large part to ranking second in the majors with an AL-best 47 walks.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 08, 2020 at 02:34 PM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: carlos santana, royals

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 08, 2020 at 03:25 PM (#5993147)
Tough to evaluate. Santana has aged pretty well so far. That Phils deal worked out to about 7 WAR, 2 WAA for $48 M after applying the 2020 cut which is a bit better than break-even. He didn't hit well in 2020 but apparently did other stuff well enough to drag himself back to average. But this covers ages 35-36, rarely a happy time for average 1B. Guaranteeing 2 years is a little odd but maybe a real team had matched a 1-year offer and this is what it takes to get him to KC.

The money's not super-cheap either. I looked at a few players roughly this good when Rosario was non-tendered and last offseason, the ones I dug up got only around $7-8 per. Santana's better than Moreland but not necessarily by a lot and Moreland got just $2.5 last offseason, pre-covid. Gurriel just got 1/$7. He's probably better than Daniel Murphy was 2 years ago when he got 2/$24 but that's just the Rox being the Rox. :-)
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 08, 2020 at 03:47 PM (#5993160)
Non-zero chance he falls off a cliff at his age, but if he is even close to what he's been the last few years, he helps that lineup out quite a bit. Even hitting below the Mendoza line last year, he had a better OBA than everyone on the Royals except Salvy.

You can squint and see the Royals as a .500-ish club, who possibly is on the periphery of a WC race if things fall their way.
   3. Mike Webber Posted: December 08, 2020 at 04:14 PM (#5993177)
AG are you thinking the young pitching comes up big? CF is a problem, I like Lopez at 2b but that's a hitting issue.

Would you rather have 1b/3b Dozier/Franco+cash or Santana/Dozier?



   4. The Duke Posted: December 08, 2020 at 04:55 PM (#5993188)
So we have two new owners on the Mets and the Royals who are determined to forge ahead - good for both of them
   5. Buck Coats Posted: December 08, 2020 at 05:46 PM (#5993202)
Nice to see them spending money but this seems like a terrible deal to me
   6. Walt Davis Posted: December 09, 2020 at 04:13 PM (#5993417)
#5 and sorta #2: It's just 2/$17 so can't be "terrible." It can be "totally irrational" or "stupid" but it's too small an amount to be terrible. And as Retro notes, he was non-sucky just recently. The oddness of the deal is guaranteeing 2 years. It's also interesting in that this seems about the same sort of deal Santana might have gotten pre-covid (assuming 2020 production was similar to what he actually did).

Even hitting below the Mendoza line last year, he had a better OBA than everyone on the Royals except Salvy.

I don't know how many examples we really have except Mays near the end but "big drop in BA and power, compensated for by massive walk rate" has frequently been seen as a sign that the end is near. A guy with a 199 BA and 350 SLG led the AL in walks -- unless he's the new Eddie Joost, that won't continue.

But for sure, he was worth 4.6 WAR in 2019, 13 WAR from 2016-19 and that might be a better indicator of his current production levels. Ding him for age and he's probably still a 2.5-3 WAR player for 2021 and 2 WAR for 2022. But that's also roughly Eddie Rosario's projection and he's 6 years younger and nobody wanted him at 1/$10. (That's not a statement that Rosario would have addressed the Royals' specifiic needs as well, just that he's a reasonably similar player and projection.)
   7. tshipman Posted: December 09, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5993444)
Tough to evaluate.


I'd say it's just like the ocean, under the moon.
   8. Zach Posted: December 09, 2020 at 05:54 PM (#5993445)
Quality player at a reasonable price.

It's anybody's guess how predictive COVID stats are, but I like the track record. And it's nice to see the Royals planning next year's lineup rather than just waiting to see if anything turns up in spring training.
   9. Adam Starblind Posted: December 10, 2020 at 08:12 AM (#5993495)
Maybe they see something in the spin of his balls. Stats are crazy now, man.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: December 10, 2020 at 10:51 AM (#5993512)
The oddness of the deal is guaranteeing 2 years.
Maybe I'm being cynical, but could it be because they see a decent likelihood of trading him during the contract? I.E., he's the type of player that an excellent and/or high-spending team probably wouldn't pay "market" value for right now, but if that contending team finds itself with an unexpected lineup hole some time over the next 2 years they might pay (in trade assets or salary) for Santana.
   11. Mike Webber Posted: December 10, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5993514)
but if that contending team finds itself with an unexpected lineup hole some time over the next 2 years they might pay (in trade assets or salary) for Santana.


Good theory, but you know that guy in your fantasy league that never makes a trade because he loves his guys? Dayton Moore is that guy.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2020 at 11:14 AM (#5993520)
AG are you thinking the young pitching comes up big?


I think if pitchers are good, they tend to be good pretty early in their careers. Singer and Bubic are already up (and held their own their rookie year) and Lynch/Kowar/Lacy will likely be up by the end of the year. Obviously some of them will bust or get hurt, but if a few of them are pretty good, they have a shot at being a decent club in the next two years. I think it is good for pitchers to develop on a team that is competing rather than a god awful 100-loss team.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2020 at 05:02 PM (#5993621)
Maybe I'm being cynical, but could it be because they see a decent likelihood of trading him during the contract?

I'm sure they do but I'm not seeing why that would justify 1 year (or 1 year plus option) instead of 2. [EDIT: d'oh, I mean I don't see why it would justify 2 years over 1 or 1+1.] He's maybe a little more tradable at the next deadline if he's got another year left ... or arguably less tradable at the next deadline for that reason. I'm sticking with my speculation in #1 that it took guaranteeing 2 years to get him to KC, i.e. that somebody else was offering 1 or 1+1.

I mean it's somewhat curious from Santana's perspective as well. He's signed quite early on a not very good team (improving or not). That suggests that his agent said "you are not gonna do better." (Yes, maybe Santana just prefers the bird in the hand.) That might be a lack of holes at 1B/DH among obvious contenders (which seems to be true) and other teams with money (Cubs, Phils, Red Sox). As a general rule, if you sign for 2/$15 in early December with KC, it's because you were generating no serious interest elsewhere ... but if you were generating zero interest elsewhhere then KC probably only offers 1 year.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2020 at 07:06 PM (#5993645)
The Nats were reportedly interested in him.

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