Phillies Reportedly Interested in First Baseman Santana
The Phillies enter the winter meetings with a new field manager and out for upgrades to their team that finished with the third-worst record in all of baseball. It would make sense that the Phillies are interested in a veteran bat too compliment their many young offensive players. Perhaps surprisingly, it might come in the form of a first baseman.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports from the general managers meeting in Orlando that first baseman Carlos Santana (of no relation to the guitarist) may be of interest to the Phillies:
The Mets, Angels and Phillies are new surprise players for Indians free agent first baseman Carlos Santana in what could wind up being spirited bidding for the second-best first-base option on the market.
The bat coming from first base indeed is surprising.
While Santana came up as a catcher and also has played some third base in the major leagues, Santana is exclusively viewed as a first baseman or designated hitter at this point.
Santana has been one of baseball's most reliable bats since coming up. Though he has a career batting average of .262, Santana usually is a good bet for 20 or so home runs, an on base percentage over .360, and an OPS at or around .800 year in and year out. The best part of Santana's game is that he is a switch-hitter, whose splits are better left-handed, but are usually in the same range when serving as a right-handed batter.
Perhaps the Phillies are completely satisified with the ability of Rhys Hoskins in left field and one of the other left-handed hitting outfielders could be moved to help with pitching. Both Nick Williams and Odubel Herrera bat left-handed, while Aaron Altherr bats right-handed. Should the Phillies trade one of their switch-hitting infielders to make room for right-handed Scott Kingery, the lineup could stand to have some added balance.
Santanta may be appealing because he is now 31 years old and the commitment required to sign him would not be too long. A native of the Dominican Republic, he may be in a position to mentor young players such as Maikel Franco, also from his home country, and other young Latin players. Plus, the protection he could provide for someone such as Hoskins in a lineup would be very beneficial.
If anything, the Phillies are looking to be creative to add a professional, veteran hitter to the lineup. In the end it may not be Santanta, but this shows the Phillies are willing to consider different possibilities.