CLEVELAND -- One week after leaving the Cleveland Indians to join the Philadelphia Phillies, first baseman Carlos Santana penned a letter to his former organization, as well as Tribe fans that was posted on MLB.com Wednesday morning.
In the letter, Santana expressed gratitude for the support he received while in Cleveland, and also, detailed how difficult the decision was to leave the Indians’ organization, the only franchise he had ever played for in Major League Baseball.
“This process has been one of the most difficult I have had to experience,” Santana said. “It's not easy not knowing what the future holds. I cried once it sunk in that I would no longer be suiting up for and living in the City of Cleveland.
“All I have known is Cleveland. I loved my time in Cleveland. I became a big-leaguer in Cleveland. I became a man, a husband, and a father. I bought and maintained my first home in Cleveland. We went from losing to winning. I built friendships that I will have for the rest of my life. I fell in love with Cleveland. Thank you for loving me back. Words cannot describe how much I will miss you, Cleveland. Believe me, I will miss you all.”
PHOTOS: Former Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana pens thank-you letter to fans
During the 2017 season, Santana batted .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.
Originally a catcher when promoted to the Major League level, Santana played behind the plate, at third base, in left field and settled into a starter’s role at first base over the last three seasons.
Not only did Santana develop into a starting first baseman, but played the position at elite level, which made him into a finalist for the 2017 Rawlings American League Gold Glove Award for the first time in his career.
In 140 games at first base last season, including 139 starts, Santana registered 1,055 putouts and 95 assists against just five errors in 1,155 total chances over 1,225.2 innings of work. Santana was a part of 129 double plays and finished the year with a .996 fielding percentage while handling the most chances of his career.
“I may be starting new roots in Philly, but I will always leave a piece of my heart in Cleveland,” Santana said. “I tried to give it my all during these years, and I hope you will remember me for being a good Clevelander and teammate. I wish the organization the absolute best.
“I'm off to Philadelphia to help them build a winner. I'm ready for the challenge. I look forward to the work that lays ahead. Until we see each other again … be great!”