Carlos Santana Will be the Everyday Third Baseman
It turns out Carlos Santana‘s transition from catcher to third baseman went better than expected this spring, at least in the eyes of the Indians and Terry Francona. The team announced on Tuesday afternoon that the former catcher will be the team’s full-time starter at the hot corner. It will not be a platoon situation with Lonnie Chisenhall, who was named to the roster on Monday.
With this decision, the Indians are taking an enormous leap of faith. Reports had been mixed about the progress of Santana at third all spring long. Many cited rigidity and a lack of comfort in the way he played the position as a red alarm for why this might not have been the best decision. However, the Indians and Terry Francona praised Santana for his commitment and work ethic. Not only did Santana come to camp planning to start at third base, but he put in more than the necessary amount of work to make it happen. The Indians apparently feel confident enough in his athletic ability that he will progress positively as the season wears on.
What tho means for Lonnie Chisenhall is anyone’s best guess. Most assumed the worst case scenario would be a platoon situation. However, Francona was very firm in his stance that this would not be a platoon situation. Does Chisenhall become trade bait? Does he remain on the team as a utility man/part-time DH? It’s hard to imagine that either of those scenarios are ideal for Chisenhall’s development. But then again, the Indians seem not at all concerned about his development at this point.
It’s an interesting decision to say the least, one that is sure to set a record for defensive inefficiency according to new age defensive metrics. If it works out and Carlos Santana does develop in the way in which the Indians envision, then this could be a monumental decision. If not, things could get very ugly, very quickly.