Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Mets are among nearly a dozen teams who have shown interest in free agent first baseman Carlos Santana. Other teams vying for his services include at least the Phillies, Angels, Indians, Red Sox, and Mariners.
Santana, 31, has been with the Cleveland Indians for the entirety of his Major League career. He was primarily a catcher from 2010 to 2014 when he started shifting to first base. He has played at least 150 games in every season since 2011 except for 2012 when he played in 143.
He is a very consistent switch-hitter, always hovering right around his .249/.365/.445 career slash line. After hitting .259/.366/.498 with 34 home runs, 87 RBIs, and a 137 wRC+ for the Tribe in 2016, he followed it up by hitting .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs, 79 RBIs, and a 117 wRC+ this past season.
Historically he has hit better against lefties (.273 BA) than righties (.237 BA), but this season the difference was negligible as he hit .262 against righties and .255 against lefties. He has always shown more power from the left side of the plate while he is more of a contact hitter from the right side. For example, when he hit those 34 home runs in 2016, 30 of them came against right-handed pitchers.
Since moving from catcher to first base, his defensive metrics have been steadily improving. In 2015 he posted a 3.9 UZR and -5 DRS in 1157.1 innings. Then in 2016 he posted a 2.2 UZR with 1 DRS in just 556.2 innings, but in 2017 he improved to the tune of a 4.8 UZR and 10 DRS in 1225.2 frames.
“The Mets are interesting player here, as they’ve been seen as more likely to find someone to share first base with Wilmer Flores,” Heyman writes. “However, they do need to add significant production, and they surely understand that. They’d be interested in an outfielder who can also play first, and are also looking at their former player Jay Bruce, who’d fit again.”
Dominic Smith has pretty much under-performed his way out of the Mets’ 2018 plans, and I would not be surprised if he were traded this offseason with the powerful Peter Alonso lurking in the minor leagues. Wilmer Flores, on the other hand, continues to improve offensively and finding a power-hitting lefty to share time at first base could be the best way to go.
There is a plethora of first basemen on the free agent market: Santana, Eric Hosmer, Yonder Alonso, Logan Morrison, Mark Reynolds, Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland, and even Jay Bruce if you count him. If the Mets show interest in Santana, it is likely they will show interest with some other names on this list as well.