Minnesota Twins Rumors: Exploring Carlos Santana’s trade value
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins need to add a first baseman to their roster before 2019 begins. Can they find value in a Carlos Santana trade?
The Minnesota Twins will be looking up and down the league to find a way to replace Joe Mauer on the starting roster. Among many possible free agent additions, a few trade possibilities have already popped up. We explored the rumors surrounding the Twins conversations about Paul Goldschmidt recently, but before those rumors, there have been talks about the Twins and Carlos Santana of the Philadelphia Phillies.
If we take ourselves back to last offseason, Santana topped the list on many Twins offseason blueprints as a bat and first baseman the Twins should pursue. As a switch hitter he can help what has traditionally been a lefty heavy Twins lineup. His stat line in 2017 of .259/.363/.455 and a .818 OPS was also very appealing. That performance led to the Phillies handing Santana a 3 year and $60 million contract.
A contract which looked well worth it even if it was a bit surprising to come from the Phillies. Now with a log jam of talent and a need to move Rhys Hoskins to first base, along with a down year for Santana in 2018 makes him available in a trade. The hard question the Twins front office will need to ask is if this is the way they would like to potentially replace Mauer’s $23 million as it goes off the books.
One thing to consider is that even down from where it has been over his career, Santana’s .766 OPS in 2018 would have still been near the best on the Twins roster. While his slash line of .229/.353/.414 will be tough for some to swallow, Santana appears to still have had plenty of value in his first year in Philly. Was it $20 million worth of value may be the question the Twins will ask.
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Between positional logjams and a desire to go after big name free agents the Phillies would like to move as much of Santana’s contract as possible. If I were the Twins GM I would have a hard time giving up a lot for Santana considering he plays a position in first base and DH that are generally pretty easy to fill. Especially since the Twins have the option of finding a valuable third baseman and moving Miguel Sano over to cover first base.
The Phillies can always try to sweeten a deal with not only taking on some of Santana’s contract but also adding in more talent on their end. The Phillies are also rumored to be shopping relief pitchers Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter. A potential inclusion of one of those bullpen arms does certainly make a deal more appealing depending on what is going the Phillies way in the trade.
Earlier in the year I was asked about a Santana trade scenario for the Twins and was at that point much more optimistic about Santana to Minnesota being a good idea for the Twins. At this point, it isn’t that I believe it is a bad deal, but I would like to see some of the free agent pieces fall before making this the first trade the Twins make. Just as I type that, Santana at $10 million a year is certainly worth a couple of the Twins collection of prospects.
Where do you land on the trade for or don’t trade for Santana spectrum? Should the Twins go for a bigger deal that includes Neshek or Hunter? Let us know below.