Welcome to the WFNY 2019 Cleveland Indians preview series. Since we are an unconventional group, we are here to give you an unconventional preview. Some might be breakdowns of positions. Some might be position group battles. Some might be in depth character studies of the intricacies of the art of bunting…just kidding we hate bunts and you should too. We will be here every day for the next two weeks leading up to Opening Day, looking at some of the players and positions of this world-class Indians team.
The Cleveland Indians have a history of losing their best star players as they earn their full value on the open market. Players such as Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez, and Jim Thome left via free agency. Cliff Lee, CC Sabathia, and Victor Martinez were each traded to achieve some value back before they could leave themselves. Recently, Michael Brantley, Cody Allen, and Andrew Miller each departed. What the Tribe does not have is a long history of these players returning while still in the prime production years of their career. Carlos Santana is unique in that respect.
The Indians did not ‘let Carlos Santana walk’ as much as they made a trade through the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement given they tagged him with the Qualifying Offer, and the Philadelphia Phillies were kind enough to guarantee him more than the $50 million minimum required to qualify for draft compensation.
The Tribe rolled the dice on that selection with a player who has the arm talent to become a household name. Ethan Hankins, the No. 35 overall pick in the 2018 Rule IV Amateur Draft, is a 6-foot-6, 18-year-old with a fastball that has touched 98 miles per hour and has some crazy movement on his secondary pitches. Let’s Go Tribe places him as the No. 4 overall prospect in the entire Indians farm system based on that potential.
Here is a quick transactional overview of Carlos Santana with respect to the Cleveland Indians (traded to acquire twice, signed away under QO once).
Cleveland Indians gave: Casey Blake (Dodgers), Edwin Encarnacion (Mariners), Yandy Diaz (Rays)
Cleveland Indians received: Carlos Santana (twice), John Meloan, Ethan Hankins, Jake Bauers
Of course, Santana has already had an illustrious eight-year career with the Indians. Without adding any more statistics to his Tribe profile, he has more…
With two more seasons signed and a team-option for a third, Santana also has quite a few franchise milestones well within his reach. In 2019 alone, here are some items to track.
After hitting 57 home runs, 68 doubles, and pushing across 166 RBIs over his last two seasons with the Tribe– alongside capturing the fly ball that sent the Cleveland Indians to the World Series in 2016– Santana had won over most of his detractors before he left for Philadelphia. If any have forgotten just how great it is to have Santana on the Indians, they will soon be reminded.