Signing Carlos Santana was a smart move for the Kansas City Royals, as it gives them a dependable first baseman for the next two years.
No offense to the likes of Ryan McBroom or Ryan O’Hearn, but Carlos Santana is definitely an upgrade at first base. The Kansas City Royals signed Santana to a two-year deal worth $17.5 million back in December and it was during the wave of all of their free-agent signings.
Fans were stoked to have Santana in a Royals uniform because of his experience. He spent 10 of his 11 seasons in Cleveland and despite not hitting well this past season (batted .199 in 255 plate appearances), is going to give the Royals stability at first base.
Zach Rhymer of Bleacher Report ranked the 10 best first basemen for the 2021 season and while Santana was included in the “First Five Out” section, Rhymer had nothing but positive things to say about the Royals’ first baseman.
"Even amid a “down” year, he led the American League in walks and had a solid .349 OBP in 2020. Thus did he maintain at least some of the magic that led him to a 136 OPS+ and 34 homers in 2019."
The walk rate is going to be huge for the Royals, as this is a team that has really struggled in that department. Also, Santana had a tremendous season in 2019, slashing .281/.397/.515 with 34 home runs and 93 RBI. It was surprising to see him drop off so much in 2020, but hey — 2020 was a weird year for everyone, baseball players included.
Carlos Santana is going to be a valuable member of the Kansas City Royals these next two years.
One of the reasons I was really excited about the Santana signing back when it happened is that not only is Santana a seasoned vet, but this gives the Royals the chance to be more patient with former first-round pick Nick Pratto, who has struggled in the minors to this point. Pratto now has two years to figure out what’s ailing him in the minors and hopefully, by the time Santana’s contract is up, he’ll be ready to make his debut and contribute to the Royals.
Ever since Eric Hosmer left after the 2017 season, the Royals haven’t been able to find a surefire answer at first base. Santana not only fills that slot, but he’ll be durable and dependable. He’ll be a tremendous asset for this team in their hopeful climb toward contention.
Santana might not be considered a top-five first baseman, but he’s going to provide the Royals with veteran leadership and be able to draw walks. This is a young team that could use someone like Santana and having him around for two years should hopefully help the development of this team.