Carlos Santana’s Continuing Third Base Experiment


Sep 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter Carlos Santana (41) runs out a double in the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors of Carlos Santana Playing Third are Gaining Momentum

It’s the story that wouldn’t die. No matter how hard we try and no matter how much we beg for this experiment to come to an end, it simply refuses to go quietly into the night. The story, of course, is whether or not Carlos Santana will be the Indians opening day third baseman.

The topic has seemingly taken the offseason hostage. Fans are scouring box scores from Dominican winter league games in order to find out how well Santana is or isn’t performing at the hot corner. Indians beat writers are being bombarded with questions pertaining to the possible position change for Santana in their weekly mailbags. Jordan Bastian was the latest to fall victim yesterday afternoon when he released his latest inbox column.

Even Wahoo’s on First isn’t immune to such speculation. Our daily email chains have become comedic fodder for the Carlos Santana to third quandary. We have seemingly become divided on whether or not this is a great idea or a terrible idea with many of us flip-flopping sides on an almost daily basis. Nick Wheatley-Schaller has even taken things a step further by sitting alone in his dark basement and hacking into some top-secret Chinese satellites in order to watch Carlos Santana play third base. Don’t believe me? We have the gifs to prove it.

So will he or won’t he? That is the question.

As Jordan Bastian pointed out, it is way too early to begin speculating on the validity of such a decision. Right now the Indians can only go by what they are being told by scouts and from what little video may be available to them. In order to make a proper decision regarding Carlos Santana as a possible option at third base, they will need to seem him play a substantial number of innings at the hot corner during spring training.

What we can gather from this continuing circus involving Carlos Santana as a third baseman is that the Indians are done waiting on Lonnie Chisenhall to become a legitimate candidate. After a couple of seasons of waiting on Chisenhall to take the proverbial bull by they horns and stake his claim to third base. Whether it’s Carlos Santana, Mike Aviles, or some other option not already on the roster, the Indians aren’t going to just hand the position over to him for the start of another season. If Chisenhall wants to be the starting third baseman, he’s going to have to earn it.

Whether or not Chisenhall will have the confidence necessary to win the job after this latest “setback” is anyone’s best guess. All we know is that the pressure that came from looking over his shoulder and worrying about being sent down after a few bad at bats messed with his head. He’s said just as much and finally began to perform well last season once that worry was lifted. But here we are again, wondering whether or not Chisenhall can win the job.

In his defense, though, this latest challenge has less to do with him and more to do with the emergence of Yan Gomes. Thanks to Gomes’ performance last season, he put this whole thing in motion. The Indians simply cannot ignore a .294/.345/.481 slash line. Gomes needs to be given the chance to be in the lineup on an every day basis and earned that opportunity fair and square. How it eventually works out with him playing every day remains to be seen, but the Indians seem committed to giving it a shot.

Not matter how this works out in the end, this has certainly made for one heck of a debate. It’s not every day that a team contemplates moving their starting catcher from the past handful of seasons out from behind the plate in favor of the backup. It’s also rare that a team also considers taking that same player and moving him to third on a full-time basis rather than first or DH. Oh, and then there is the fact that by making such a move, they are jeopardizing the future of one of their most highly coveted prospects.

Give the Indians credit for one thing. They certainly aren’t boring.