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Carlos Santana: Third Baseman?

Paul Hoynes reports that the Indians are considering giving Carlos Santana some time at third base this winter to see if he can handle the position in 2014.

Hannah Foslien

Carlos Santana might be adding third base to his list of positions where he is eligible in 2014. Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes reports in his latest article in the Cleveland Plains Dealer that the team has Santana taking grounders in winter ball, where he could see some action at the hot corner:

From his piece in hte Cleveland Plains Dealer:

I've heard Carlos Santana is already taking grounders at third base and could play some third this winter in the Dominican Republic. I'm not sure if it's to increase his versatility or to give the Indians another option if Chisenhall can't do the job.

Santana already has catcher, first base and DH eligibility which the Indians have used to keep his bat in the lineup and to keep Santana healthy. Adding third base eligibility would serve to increase Santana's value on draft day, although the chances of him playing some third base are slim at the moment. That could change, as Hoynes mentions above, should Lonnie Chisenhall not perform up to his expectations. Once a top Indians prospect, Chisenhall has disappointed in his first two seasons in the big leagues.

One reason why the Indians may want to move Santana from behind the plate is his poor defense behind the plate. Another reason could be due to his hitting splits at catcher, first base and DH. Here is how he hit at each position in 2013:

Catcher: .249-.370-.451, 11 HRs, 34 runs, 36 RBI in 277 at bats

First base: .287-.385-.489, 5 HRs, 19 runs, 15 RBI in 94 at bats

Designated hitter: .288-.378-.441, 4 HRs, 26 runs, 24 RBI in 170 at bats

In 264 at bats without the catcher's gear on, Santana has hit .288 with 9 home runs, 47 runs and 39 RBI, so the Indians might want to see what kind of hitter he could be if they remove him from the catcher position full time. The Twins are doing the same with Joe Mauer in 2014, and Santana could be following in his footsteps.

The possible move to third could be another way for the manager Terry Francona to get Yan Gomes into the Indians lineup on a more regular basis as well. Gomes hit well in 88 games last season, hitting .294-.345-.481 with 11 home runs, 45 runs and 38 RBI, so he was very productive when in the lineup.

He obviously won't have third base eligibility to start the 2014 season, but I would rank him in my top 10-12 fantasy third baseman, if he did have eligibility.

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