May 24, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana (41) bats in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Indians defeated the Orioles 9-0. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Who Should Go When Carlos Santana Returns?

Carlos Santana’s Return Will Require Roster Move

Carlos Santana is expected to return to the Indians either on Friday night in Arlington where the Cleveland Indians will be taking on the Texas Rangers or shortly thereafter.  His return will require a roster opening a spot on the roster and to our knowledge their was not an injury reported during the Boston Red Sox series.

Will  the Indians decide that he isn’t quite ready to get behind home plate after suffering his second concussion since 2012?  According to Santana’s comments reported by Paul Hoynes on he still desires to remain a catcher.

“I don’t think I want to stop catching,” said Santana. “I haven’t talked to Tito (manager Terry Francona) or anybody about that. I haven’t thought about that.

“They’ve been very good to me. This is my team and I’ll do whatever they need me to do. They know, and the fans know, that I like to play.” – 

If Tito Francona is confident that Santana is healthy enough to start right away behind home plate then we may see the Indians designate George Kottaras for assignment.

Of course, a healthy Santana can also play first base. With Nick Swisher on the disabled list the Indians could park Santana at first base and option out Jesus Aguilar electing to keep Kottaras as the backup catcher while Santana puts more time between his concussion and the next foul tip that bangs into his mask.

There is also the possibility that the Indians elect to go to a 7-man bullpen and option out one of the relievers. Earlier this week that would have been an easy decision. Just send Nick Hagadone back to Columbus but he has been attacking hitters and has been in command of his arsenal not only with the Indians but over the last few weeks with the Clippers.

If I had to guess at what move would be made I’d guess that Jesus Aguilar is sent back to Columbus to garner everyday plate appearances and Kottaras and Hagadone remain on the roster.

When The Cleveland Indians Activate Carlos Santana Who Will Be Removed From Roster?

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It’s always an interesting endeavor to see how others on the Wahoos On First staff view a topic. Several writers responded to the question about the upcoming roster move and their responses are below.


When Santana comes back on Friday, the Indians will option Jesus Aguilar to Triple-A. They need two legit catchers on the roster and it’s time to move Santana off of the position.

Not only is Santana struggling to produce offensively at catcher and third base, but the fact that he has had two concussions worries me about the long-term health of the slugger.

Put him at 1B/DH, give third base back to Lonnie Chisenhall, and when Swisher comes back, the Indians can decide whether Kottaras or Hagadone are still worth a roster spot.


I agree with Evan. I think Aguilar goes back down. I dont think the Indians are committed to keeping him on the big league club right now. Although wouldn’t be surprised if Kottaras went away either.

I think it’s interesting that Chisenhall keeps getting time at first. Granted it’s due more to a lack of first basemen with Santana and Swisher on the shelf, but it’s an interesting experiment.


When Carlos Santana comes back Friday the Indians will option Nick Hagadone.  I’m probably going to be wrong here (won’t be the first or last time), but we are at the same point in the season as last year when Francona finally switched back to a traditional 4-man bench and 7-man pen.

Would not surprise me if we see him go back to it this week.  He’s been going to the same well of relievers lately and believe he’s finally figuring out what roles players need to be in.  Keeping Kottaras is probably needed at the moment with Santana’s concussion. Giving him extra time off from catching should help.

I’m keeping Aguilar around until Swisher comes back as well.  Consider since the start of the 2012 season, Yan Gomes has the most starts in the big leagues at 1B (13) of anyone on the current 25 man roster.  Santana would take that “crown” but having a true 1B around isn’t a bad thing.  Plus would be a nice right-handed bat off the bench.


Agree that an Jesus Aguilar demotion seems to make the most sense. While the 7-day concussion DL has been great for baseball, you don’t want to assume that just cause Carlos Santana has had a week or so off that he will be less susceptible to another concussion.
Given that he isn’t a great defensive catcher to begin with, coupled with natural-3B Lonnie Chisenhall‘s recent surge, letting Santana play 1B/DH seems to be the most prudent option to both preserve his health, and hopefully get his bat closer in line with what he’s shown he’s capable of in the Major Leagues.

One thing that shouldn’t happen is for Santana to be activated and then relegated to a part-time role; it’s unlikely, but it would be a massive mistake, as a healthy and productive Carlos Santana is crucial for any chance of success for the Indians in 2014


I agree that Kottaras needs to stay — he’s a pure catcher (it’s probably time to end playing Santana there) and he’s played well. That being said, I would personally send down Hagadone. I’m okay with Aguilar going down too, but I’d probably wait until Swisher would come back too. The Indians have two other lefties in the bullpen, so it’s not like Hags is their secret weapon out of there or anything.

With that being said, the best route for Aguilar’s development would be playing every day, which is something he has a better chance of getting in Columbus than in Cleveland. As of now, he’s mostly an occasional starter (which is fine), but the Indians have shown that they aren’t committed to keeping him on the roster permanently just yet. I’m a fan of keeping an extra bench bat instead of an extra reliever, but if sending Aguilar down is the better way to go (which is a fair point), I’m okay with sacrificing Jesus to the minors.


Indians will DFA Kottaras when Santana comes back. I know everyone thinks Santana’s days behind the plate are over, but we really only need someone to ret Gomes once a week or so, and I don’t think that makes Kottaras worth a roster spot. Hagadone is being given another chance to prove himself.

At this point, the Indians need to decide whether or not Hagadone is going to be a major leaguer or a career minor-leaguer; he’s been around long enough. And Aguilar should probably hang around until Swish comes back. I don’t buy into the whole “Santana has better offense when playing at first base” theory. I think the higher numbers while playing there are little more than a small sample size coincidence.

Tags: Carlos Santana Cleveland Indians George Kottaras Jesus Aguilar Nick Hagadone

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