It only took until December 15, after the Winter Meeting concluded, but we finally have our first large free agent signing of the offseason.
Santana’s deal is $60M for 3 years with philly
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 15, 2017
Carlos Santana, 31, has been consistently solid at the plate for several years running now in Cleveland, always winding up in that 3.0-ish WAR range, and never quite amounting to much on defense. For the Phillies, then, it makes Santana an odd fit, since I’m assuming he’ll have to play first base. That’ll push Rhys Hoskins to the outfield, where he dabbled in 2017, but had not played as a professional before that.
Clearly, the Phillies are ready to start turning that corner on the rebuild, which I both respect and sanction. We see it every year with young teams, and since the market is not blowing up, why not take a swing on a short-term deal? And they have the money to add from there.
The projections for Santana, who will cost the Phillies their second pick in the 2018 draft, were all over the map, ranging from as low as a $13 million AAV to as high as $18 million. And he topped even that.
Does it say anything about the market, especially given that it took so long for a major free agent to sign? Are they all seeking massive money, far higher than had previously been projected? Tyler Chatwood, you’ll note, got far more than projected from the Cubs (though the projections on his deal always seemed light). With the new luxury tax-related penalties, and with a huge free agent class coming next year, I would have bet on the conservative side of the projections this offseason. But then, maybe the projections already had that baked in, and got a little too conservative.
We shall see soon enough.
Meanwhile, the Indians – who’d hoped to retain Santana and were already in the market for a bat – will probably step up their efforts to add another big bat to the lineup. They have been connected to the Cubs in trade talks, you’ll note.
A fresh Lukewarm Stove went up just before this news broke, by the way. So if you missed it, hop on over.