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Carlos Santana – Your Starting Third Baseman

Carlos Santana

Carlos SantanaThe Indians front office and coaching staff wanted this to work. It apparently has to their satisfaction.

Carlos Santana, the Indians starting catcher the past three seasons has officially been named the team’s starting third baseman this afternoon. Manager Terry Francona, according to our friend it isn’t the situation you think it is.

 

Lonnie Chisenhall, the incumbent at third, has still made the ball club and will probably see increased time at DH and could come on late in games as a defensive replacement. What this says about his long term future with the Indians is up for debate. Lonnie has had a solid Spring at the plate with 16 hits in 52 ABs (.308/.909 OPS) but it is clear the Indians front office had a plan they wanted to execute that did not involve him.

An additional catcher will not be kept on the roster meaning Santana will be the primary backup to Yan Gomes behind the plate.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

  • Pat Leonard

    How has Carlos looked at third base in spring training? Seem pretty natural there? I haven’t been able to watch even a single game yet.

  • Matthew Grant Anson

    The game I saw when I went to ST he made one great diving catch to his right, and another solid play that I missed but my dad saw. After he makes a good play Asdrubal gives him a look and Carlos shrugs and smiles a little.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    I can’t decide whether this is a good thing or not to be honest.

    A large part of me wanted Chisenhall to rise to the occasion and keep his job just so Santana could be used as backup catcher, first baseman and designated hitter. Another part says if Chisenhall could be beat out by a guy who just started playing the position then he deserved to be benched. I guess time will tell as always.

  • woofersus

    Not like a life-long 3rd baseman, but better than I expected. I didn’t see every game, but in the ones I did see he didn’t really feel like a liability defensively. And, he flashed some athleticism and a plus arm at times that make me think he could actually end up being pretty decent over there eventually. Once in a while his instincts would betray him, and he botched a couple of throws due to rushing, but the talent level is clearly there.

    Because of Santana also being the backup catcher, I think Lonnie will still get quite a few starts at 3rd. Gomes isn’t going to start 100 games behind the dish.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Hard to say when I did get to see him play many games he saw relatively no action. His highlight had to be the game where he cut a ball off headed for Cabrera and fired a laser to Swisher at 1B. Then he made a great backhanded snag towards third base turned and fired right on the money.

  • Pat Leonard

    Interesting, thanks! BTW, I disagree on Gomes… unless he struggles at the plate or gets injured, I fully expect him to start at least 100 games, maybe more like 115-120. He played 81 games there last year and that was with him clearly splitting the duties with Santana.

  • mgbode

    I can totally picture that Carlos shrug+smile combo.

  • mgbode

    I agree. And, even if Gomes starts 120 games there that still leaves 42 for Lonnie at 3B, plus days where Carlos will be at DH and some days of rest as well. I’d guess that he’d hit around 80 games and more if someone gets injured. He played 94 last year.

  • willf6

    He looked good enough. The only real problem I noticed was his footwork when getting set to throw, way to erect in his posture.

  • nj0

    I’ve read that he’s been good with his glove, but has had some issues making the throw to first.

  • Harv 21

    ok, I wanted it, I got it, let’s see what it looks like. Haven’t had a third baseman who could either hit or field since Fryman, so at least here’s someone who can do one of those. I’ll try to shut up about the inevitable early errors because Lonnie sure wasn’t winning them any games out there.

  • nj0

    In 2004, Casey Blake… you know what… I’m just going to stop there and save myself the keystrokes.

  • nj0

    Lonnie didn’t have a bad spring (based on the #’s I’ve seen and the reviews I’ve read). So I think it was more Santana winning the job than Lonnie losing it.

    That said, Lonnie never looked that good with the glove, so – considering how much better a hitter Santana is – it was just a matter of Carlos being slightly okay defensively to be the obvious choice.

    Sort of surprised though that Lonnie will be on the big league roster too. I would have thought they’d want him to get to play every day (not that he has anything left to prove in AAA).

  • mgbode

    being way too erect due to footwork sounds more like Rex Ryan

  • nj0

    Wow.

  • Kildawg

    My thinking is Chisenhall will be used as more of a regular DH until Giambi returns. Also a guy like Luke Carlin would be on the roster to serve as the backup catcher to ease that burden off Santana, Johnson//Raburn, etc.

  • DCTribeFan

    Carlin is out, roster is set except for the Carasco/Tomlin decision. 5 man bench already set–Aviles Raburn, Morgan, Johnson, and now Chiz. Carlos is the backup catcher.

  • woofersus

    Yeah, I threw that number out at random, and it was probably too low. I do think they’ll be a little bit conservative with Gomes since they have Santana and catching can take its toll, but you guys are probably right that it will be at least 100.

  • Kildawg

    Morgan made it because Bourn is injured. Maybe an 8 man bullpen to start with Aviles, Raburn, and Johnson being the bench until Giambi returns?

  • EyesAbove

    Casey Blake > Jason Giambi

  • mgbode

    Chisenhall has not fulfilled his potential as a prospect, but he is a better hitter than Giambi with a higher ceiling. I have to think that Francona isn’t dumb enough to bench a hitter for Jason as the regular DH and I hope that either Lonnie is hitting well or we find someone who is for DH.

  • mgbode

    despite not playing since 2011, I agree. Casey is also younger.

  • simond

    i like that Carlos went out and set his goal for this at the beginning of the off-season. i think he understands that Gomes is the better catcher and his own bat still needs to be in the lineup. no surprise that the front office was behind him on this – its cheaper than going out and getting a guy thats been playing 3B for a long time that can hit as well as Santana.

    i like that he showed willingness to go into winterball and learn a new position, not entirely new but you know what i mean

    hope it works out for everyone effected by this move.

  • Jason Hurley

    The key for us, as fans, is to not jump all over the guy if he makes some errors early on (I’m guessing it’ll be more throwing-error oriented).

  • Harv 21

    forgot about Casey. Not a big fan at all but he was a pretty competent fielder. Casey Blake < Brook Jacoby.

    [kiiidding, hate the Casey discussions. Everyone's opinion had years to gel and set and it quickly devolves ino feces flinging]