It is a little over a month into the MLB season and so far so good for the Philadelphia Phillies. The team has seen the highest of the highs which of course was scoring 20 runs in a game against the Miami Marlins a few weeks ago. The team also has witnessed the lowest of the lows which consisted of Gabe Kapler’s first week of the job where he made a few, dare we say, questionable managerial decisions. However, all in all it has been a solid first month for a young team with a first year manager. There is one problem this team can not figure out though and that is the slow agonizing start by one of their prized off season acquisitions, Carlos Santana.
Carlos signed a three year 60 million dollar deal in the off season but since his career has started with the Phillies he has struggled mightily. Entering Wednesday night’s game he was batting a measly .158 with an extremely low .287 slugging percentage. The argument can be made that Carlos is still getting on base, with his keen eye, by drawing more walks then normal as he already has 22 walks on the year. However, walks are not the reason why he was signed by Matt Klentak and the front office and walks will not be the reason Carlos keeps his position in the batting order.
Gabe Kapler has a tough decision looming. Sure the Phillies have had some early success and they have outplayed their expectations so far this season. They currently sit in second place in the division and seem to be meshing very well as a team. Carlos Santana’s struggles are not killing the Phillies chances of competing for the NL East title but the question remains though can this team maintain this success while one of their power hitters struggles so mightily?
The defense of Carlos is the fact he has played his entire career in the American League so he is not familiar with most of the pitchers he has faced so far this season. Sure Major League hitters do need time to acclimate to a new league, a new city and new pitchers. Carlos Santana, though, has shown no signs of improving through this season. He currently has only 2 home runs and 11 RBi’s on the year which is not at all what the Phillies were hoping for when he signed his contract.
If the struggles continue for Santana Gabe Kapler will have no choice but to either bench him or move him down to the 8th spot in the lineup. The decision to keep Santana in the lineup so far has been the fact the Phillies do lack a solid clean up hitter with major power. That was the important factor in signing Santana as he was known for his power and ability to change the game with the course of one swing. Rhys Hoskins, though has steadily improved through his first full season at the Major League level and could fill in Santana’s spot with his prowess to hit the long ball. Only time will tell if Carlos Santana can turn around his first season as a Philadelphia Phillie but that time along with the city’s patience is running thin.
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