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Article: Carlos Santana Is a Perfect Fit for the Twins

carlos santana tyler austin c.j. cron
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#21 SF Twins Fan

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 09:58 AM

 

I'll be happy to take Santana if the Mariners are sweetening the pot with other talent.

 

But as much as I have always liked Santana, Cron, who nearly everyone is dissatisfied with, was a better hitter last year and is younger. At 33 years-old, I wouldn't expect Santana to start trending towards increased productivity.

 

I don't think you can just look at last years numbers and say that Cron is going to be better moving forward. Cron also posted a OPS + of 98 the year before.

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#22 markos

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:01 AM

 

Santana is not the answer. He's slower than a Molina at this point. He's a DH only now. He posted a 105 OPS+ last year while playing in the bandbox that is CBP. His wOBA was actually the exact same as Robbie Grossman and they basically had the same WAR despite Santana getting 150 more PA. His numbers have been trending south for several years.

 

They can get Nelson Cruz without making a trade. Cruz is better and his contract would likely be less than what Santana is making now.

I also don't think Santana is the answer, especially at his current price point. But I don't think you are giving him a fair shake here. He has been average or better at all the baserunning metrics for the past 4 seasons, and he has graded average or better at first base defense by all the metrics as well. And if you don't trust the defensive metrics, the Statcast sprint speed data has him exactly the same as Joe Mauer last year. And the gap between him and Albert Pujols (the slowest guy on the list) is basically as big as the gap between Santana and Buxton. He is not a Molina.

 

Further, while CBP does help with HRs, its small dimensions suppress singles and doubles. Given that power isn't really Santana's game, the ballpark probably didn't give him a many favors. And while I know that ballpark effects are a contentious topic, Fangraphs at least has Target Fields as a more hitter-friendly park than CBP over the past 5 seasons. 

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#23 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:01 AM

I'd 200% much rather that money be spent on RP and SP and MI than a DH only player at this point of the rebuild.

 

Not sure what happened there that I pressed the 2, but it works.

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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#24 markos

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:04 AM

 

I don't think you can just look at last years numbers and say that Cron is going to be better moving forward. Cron also posted a OPS + of 98 the year before.

Yeah, betting on Cron is betting on that his huge HR/FB rate spike is real and sustainable. A lot of his other stats didn't really show much change.

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#25 markos

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:04 AM

 

I'd 200% much rather that money be spent on RP and SP and MI than a DH only player at this point of the rebuild.

 

Not sure what happened there that I pressed the 2, but it works.

Santana can still play 1B well. He is not a liability out there.

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#26 mikelink45

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:04 AM

Does not do anything for me.If we send Cron and Austin in exchange I am fine.Of if we have excess players we are not going to use like Curtiss that is okay too.But in an exchange like this how much does the team gain?

 

Cron 2 WAR, 253/30/74 traditional stats, 816 OPS, -12 Total Runs above average fielding.

 

Santana 1.7 WAR, 229/24/86, 766 OPS, +3 fielding.  

So based on last year, the only gain we would get in Santana would be in fielding and yet the discussions say his is only a DH now.

 

Put me down in the not excited column.

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#27 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:13 AM

 

Santana can still play 1B well. He is not a liability out there.

 

I'd still rather have SP and RP and a SS or 2B, even a flex 3B/SS/1B (not sure there is one other than Machado)

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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#28 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:14 AM

 

Yeah, betting on Cron is betting on that his huge HR/FB rate spike is real and sustainable. A lot of his other stats didn't really show much change.

 

I'm not a Cron guy......my objection is much more about opportunity cost in acquiring pitching. And, ya, I got the defense wrong!

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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#29 nicksaviking

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:18 AM

 

Santana can still play 1B well. He is not a liability out there.

 

It's still just 1B. If people weren't happy paying $23M/year for defensive value at 1B, I can't imagine why people would be happy with $20M.


#30 Monkeypaws

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:23 AM

 

I'd still rather have SP and RP and a SS or 2B, even a flex 3B/SS/1B (not sure there is one other than Machado)

 

 

Marwin Gonzales is the guy.

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#31 Winston Smith

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:32 AM

 

I'd still rather have SP and RP and a SS or 2B, even a flex 3B/SS/1B (not sure there is one other than Machado)

They have the money to do all of those things and trade for Santana. Problem is will they?

They always say money isn't an issue but the only time the GM spent up to the limit he got fired and the next year payroll was cut.

My guess is the payroll will end up about $23MM lower than last year, around $100MM.

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#32 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:37 AM

They have the money to do all of those things and trade for Santana. Problem is will they?
They always say money isn't an issue but the only time the GM spent up to the limit he got fired and the next year payroll was cut.
My guess is the payroll will end up about $23MM lower than last year, around $100MM.


Agreed
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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#33 gunnarthor

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:37 AM

 

I also don't think Santana is the answer, especially at his current price point. But I don't think you are giving him a fair shake here. He has been average or better at all the baserunning metrics for the past 4 seasons, and he has graded average or better at first base defense by all the metrics as well. And if you don't trust the defensive metrics, the Statcast sprint speed data has him exactly the same as Joe Mauer last year. And the gap between him and Albert Pujols (the slowest guy on the list) is basically as big as the gap between Santana and Buxton. He is not a Molina.

 

Further, while CBP does help with HRs, its small dimensions suppress singles and doubles. Given that power isn't really Santana's game, the ballpark probably didn't give him a many favors. And while I know that ballpark effects are a contentious topic, Fangraphs at least has Target Fields as a more hitter-friendly park than CBP over the past 5 seasons. 

Yeah, I probably went overboard with the Molina reference. He's not that slow. That said, bWAR did not like his defense at all last year.


#34 nicksaviking

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:56 AM

 

They have the money to do all of those things and trade for Santana. Problem is will they?

They always say money isn't an issue but the only time the GM spent up to the limit he got fired and the next year payroll was cut.

My guess is the payroll will end up about $23MM lower than last year, around $100MM.

 

They all but said that was the case. I might think $100M might be high even. 

 

I know they won't flat out say it publicly, but it would be nice if they would if only so everyone would vent about it now and come to terms with the fact so our whole off season isn't ruined with simmering animosity. It's going to be a long winter if every free agent signed or big contract traded by another team is met here with anger.


#35 USAFChief

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:09 AM

 

They all but said that was the case. I might think $100M might be high even. 

 

I know they won't flat out say it publicly, but it would be nice if they would if only so everyone would vent about it now and come to terms with the fact so our whole off season isn't ruined with simmering animosity. It's going to be a long winter if every free agent signed or big contract traded by another team is met here with anger.

It's not "ruining the offseason" that bothers me.

 

It's ruining the 2019 on-season.

 

It's going to be a long summer if "we can't afford it" is the team's response to every free agent signing or big contract traded.

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#36 Tom Froemming

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:34 AM

Lots of good discussions on both sides. Yes, the Twins definitely need a middle infielder and relief help. Extra starting pitching is always nice too. Trading for Santana shouldn't mean you can't address those issues. If for some reason it would, then I agree, it would be more important to focus on those spots.

 

Just a couple of other quick notes on Santana, first, his BABIP was actually the absolute lowest among all qualified hitters last season. His average exit velocity was in the top 40 percent of the league and his hard hit % was in the top 35 percent, so there's no real reason to expect his BABIP to remain that painfully low.

 

On his defense/athleticism, the Phillies trusted him enough to make 16 starts at third base last year. It's a tiny sample, but Santana actually had a better UZR/150 over there than Eduardo Escobar. In fact, among the 80 players to log 100 innings at 3B, Santana ranked 39th in UZR/150.

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#37 nicksaviking

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:35 AM

 

It's not "ruining the offseason" that bothers me.

 

It's ruining the 2019 on-season.

 

It's going to be a long summer if "we can't afford it" is the team's response to every free agent signing or big contract traded.

 

I don't think they are saying that after every big contract or trade, they implied it once and they probably won't say another word about it again. I'd rather we were just being creative to come up with discussions and ideas to fit within their implied (and bogus) constraints to make the team better than just be angry all year. It's nearly intolerable around here right now and the frustration isn't going to change ownership's behavior.


#38 wavedog

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:58 AM

I like the hitting tools that Santana would bring and also the fact that in addition to 1B he could play some 3B as a backup plan for Sano.I would also say if the $ would prevent us from upgrading the 2B/SS position and Relief Pitching then not on board. The other issue is we already have Cron and Austin and to a lesser extent possibly Garver/Sano splitting the 1B/DH position. There would have to be several moves to make all this work. 


#39 Minny505

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:07 PM

Santana and Cron had very similar xwOBA in 2018. It's likely they both see a lower xwOBA in 2019 as Cron had a huge jump vs his career and Santana is on the downside of his career.

 

That said, the trajectory of 1B in the last couple decades is to peak at 28 (which Cron just did) then level off thru age 30, at which point they start to slowly decline. That means Cron will likely outhit Santana by a smidge over the next two seasons.

 

Santana is a much better fielder. He is also a better fit for the roster allowing you to platoon Austin or Astudillo.

 

In John Bonnes, gun to me head fashion, I'd take the bet on Santana being a better player over the next couple seasons, but it's negligible. If the Twins can strike a deal that is essentially payroll neutral over the next couple seasons then consummate it. Maybe Cron, a C+ prospect and $25mil.

 

If we take Swarzak back in the trade, I suspect Dipoto goes for it. What's the sentiment on Swarzak. Is he washed up? He had a steep dropoff last season and I have not looked into why other than BABIP.


#40 USAFChief

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:09 PM

 

I don't think they are saying that after every big contract or trade, they implied it once and they probably won't say another word about it again. I'd rather we were just being creative to come up with discussions and ideas to fit within their implied (and bogus) constraints to make the team better than just be angry all year. It's nearly intolerable around here right now and the frustration isn't going to change ownership's behavior.

To each his own. I'm not giving them a pass on not spending, just because it makes for more pleasant conversation. I'm not going to pretend I think it's ok, or it presents some sort of reasonable obstacle.

 

They have no excuse. They have oodles of money available.

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