CLEVELAND -- There are plenty of decisions facing the Cleveland Indians heading into the 2018 season, and one of the potential moves that have to be made is the signing of first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Santana to a new contract.
Santana is due to become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, and he addressed the matter following Wednesday night’s season-ending 5-2 loss to the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the American League Division Series at Progressive Field.
“I’m hopeful,” Santana said. “I’m hopeful that I come back. This is my house. Everybody knows me.
“We’ll see. We have to wait and we’ll see. I’m hopeful. I want to come back here. This is my house. My whole career, I’ve played here and I feel so comfortable here.”
In 2016, Santana hit .259 with 151 hits in 582 at-bats with 89 runs scored, 87 RBI, 31 doubles, three triples and 34 home runs with 99 walks against 99 strikeouts. Additionally, Santana had .366 on-base and .498 slugging percentages.
After seeing that kind of productivity, the Indians wasted no time in exercising Santana’s $12 million option for the 2017 season after last year’s World Series run, and that one-year extension made him the second-highest paid player on the team, trailing only designated hitter/infielder Edwin Encarnacion.
During the 2017 season, Santana hit .259 with 23 home runs, 37 doubles, 79 runs batted in, another 90 scored and 148 hits over 154 games. Additionally, Santana struck out 94 times, but worked his way to 88 walks.
In his eight years with the Indians, Santana had a .249 batting average with 995 hits in 3,994 at-bats over 1,116 regular-season games. He belted 236 doubles, 13 triples and 174 home runs, drove in 587 runs, scored another 573 and drew 726 walks against 812 strikeouts.
In 21 playoff appearances with the Indians, Santana had two doubles, four home runs, eight RBI, eight runs and 11 walks against 16 strikeouts.
Originally a catcher when promoted to the Major League club during the 2010 season, Santana has played behind the plate, at third base, in left field and settled into a starter’s role at first base over the last four years.
“Oh, boy. I don't know if I'm ready to even think about guys moving on,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I love the kid. I hope he's not moving on.”