Should the Cleveland Guardians look to bring back Anthony Santander?

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles / Rob Carr/GettyImages

The year is 2016, and there is a somewhat intriguing switch-hitting outfield prospect in the lower levels of Cleveland's minor league system. Left unprotected ahead of the Rule 5 Draft, he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in a transaction that mostly went under the radar at the time. That player? Anthony Santander. With seven years in the majors under his belt and entering his final year of arbitration, should the Cleveland Guardians look to reacquire the player they let get away?

Santander was recently mentioned on MLB Trade Rumors as someone who could possibly be on the move due to this being his final arbitration-eligible year and the projected salary of $12.7 million. While the Marlins are specifically mentioned as someone who could vie for his services, the Guardians need to throw their hat into the ring as well. 

Cleveland's lineup had two areas where they notably struggled last year, outfield production and overall power. Luckily, Santander can help in both areas. The soon-to-be 29-year-old has 110 home runs and a .251/.310/.468 slash line over the past five seasons. This includes the abbreviated 2020 season and seasons where he did not play more than 111 games twice. But the good news is that Santander has appeared in 305 games over the last two seasons, hitting 61 homers and driving in 184 runs. Adding something resembling this into this Guardians lineup would help take pressure off Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor to be the primary drivers of the offense.

The projected salary mentioned above may seem like a non-starter considering Cleveland's past penny-pinching, but everyone is very much aware that they need to spend money if they are going to push the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central next season. Additionally, the front office could look to make a few impactful acquisitions, mirroring their moves when Terry Francona came aboard all those years ago. The reacquisition of Santander could be one of several moves the team makes in order to put their next manager in the best position to begin his first season on the right foot.