The Cleveland Indians off- season is slowly starting to take shape.
Shaw agreed to a three year deal with the Colorado Rockies. He was a big part in the Indians success over the past few seasons and was a big part in why their bullpen was so dominant. Shaw posted a 3.52 ERA last season while appearing in 79 games.
The move that could hurt the ball club more in 2018 and seasons to come is the loss of first baseman Carlos Santana.
Santana was in the Indians farm system for pretty much his entire career. He was drafted in 2005 by the Los Angeles Dodgers and was traded to Cleveland in 2008. Since his MLB debut in 2010, he was a staple in the lineup and became a fan favorite.
With some rough patches in the middle of his career while trying to find a new position, Santana went out every day and every game willing to do anything to help to team find ways to win games.
In 2016 is when his constant play really started to set in. He permanently moved to first base and instantly saw a jump in his power numbers with a career high slugging percentage (.498) and home runs (34). Santana was one of the main reasons for the Tribe’s run to the World Series. Santana also provides strong defense and gets on base frequently- thanks to a lot of walks.
With Santana signing with a young Philadelphia Phillies team, it gives them stability and leadership in the clubhouse, while it leaves the Indians searching for options at first base.
There are options already on the roster in Edwin Encarnacion, Giovanny Urshela, Lonnie Chisenhall, and Jason Kipnis. Encarnacion has the most experience at first, as Kipnis has never played the position.
The Indians may opt to trade for one or sign one in free agency as well.
Santana will be missed by the Cleveland Indians in more than one aspect. He has been apart of the Indians franchise for practically his whole career and it will be weird to see him in a different uniform come next season.
It was going to be hard for Cleveland to re-sign Santana, especially after he declined the qualifying offer the team extended to him. Last offseason, the Indians signed Encarnacion to a deal very similar in pay to what Santana just signed in Philly. For a smaller market team like Cleveland to pay two players in the $20 million range for at least the next two seasons, that was going to be unlikely.
Santana had a successful career in a Cleveland Indians uniform and that success should continue with the Phillies.