On the same day that the Phillies trade away SS Freddy Galvis to the San Diego Padres, the team also signs 1B Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million contract (via FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman).
Santana, in 154 games last season for the Cleveland Indians, hit .259 with 23 HR and 79 RBIs. Santana brings some pop at the plate while also having plate discipline, as his OBP, standing at .363 last season, was over 100 points above his batting average.
This is a questionable move by the Phillies, as they already have Rhys Hoskins and Tommy Joseph at first base. Joseph, who hit .240 with 22 HR and 69 RBIs last season, was blocking the team from calling up Hoskins until mid-August. Hoskins, once called up the the majors, proceeded to show why he is such a special player by hitting .259 with 18 HR and 48 RBIs in only 50 games. First base is clearly not a position of need for the Phillies, and yet they still went out and spent money to bring in another first baseman.
Carlos Santana has signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Phillies, which means a young position player is on the move somewhere — perhaps in a larger trade for a pitcher.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) December 15, 2017
Maybe this is just a setup move so that, as philly.com’s Matt Gelb pointed out, the Phillies can make a trade for a star pitcher. The Phillies certainly have the pieces to make that type of trade, but is it worth giving up some combination of Nick Williams, Dylan Cozens, Scott Kingery or Sixto Sanchez? An argument can certainly be made for both sides, but the Phillies aren’t going to be ready to contend for a few more years and it doesn’t make much sense to give up young pieces to acquire a pitcher that won’t make much of an effect in the win column.
Last season, the Phillies experimented with Hoskins by playing him in the outfield. He played 27 games at first base, and 30 games in the outfield. By bringing in Santana, it looks like Hoskins might end being moved to the outfield next season. If Hoskins can make the transition full time to the outfield, maybe this signing can work out.
Signing Santana, a switch-hitting power hitter who can draw walks, also can potentially help Hoskins at the plate by providing protection so that pitchers won’t pitch around Hoskins. The Phillies lacked power last season, ranking 26th in the MLB with 174 home runs last season. By bringing in Santana, the Phillies are making an attempt to solidify the middle of the order with a bat who can give the team 25-30 home runs.
This move by the Phillies certainly is questionable, at the least, but things can potentially work out if another trade is made or Hoskins is moved to the outfield.
Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun/Associated Press