Around the Farm: January 5, 2014
Around the Farm (ATF) takes a quick look at some of the daily performances by Indians prospects. This is a special fall and winter ball version of ATF that recaps all the offseason action by Indians players in offseason winter ball leagues. The positions listed below are where the player was playing in the game.
DOMINICAN WINTER LEAGUE (LIDOM) PLAYOFFS - DAY 8
Carlos Santana (Leones del Escogido, starting 3B): 2-for-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI. Carlos returned to the hot corner where he put up another errorless night. Maybe I was a little too hasty in writing off this experiment. His day at the plate wasn't too shabby, either, as he had a multi-hit day including a solo home run before being pinch run for by Pedro Florimon in the top of the eleventh inning in an eleven-inning 4-2 Leones victory.
But the point remains the same-- the roster is better when the DH role isn't dedicated to one player.
We saw in the second half of last year that our best production comes when Gomes, Santana and Swisher are in the lineup at the same time. You can do that Gomes at catcher and Santana/Swisher at DH/1B...but that's pretty limiting as far as allowing for some rotation of other players to give them days off from the field. Cabrera notoriously slows down in the second half and would benefit from more time at DH, Kipnis as well. Bourn may need some days off from CF depending on his hamstring.
And ontop of that...what if a trade offer comes around for Asdrubal during the season? Having Santana capable of playing 3B gives Francona the ability to make Aviles the primary SS without exposing Chisenhall to everyday reps.
Let's hope Lonnie makes this all a moot point. Hopefully he takes the position once and for all and we don't have to worry about him against lefties. But as it stands today, he's basically an automatic 0-4 when there's a lefty on the mound. Anything we can do to limit those occasions is a positive.
HERMIE! HERMIE! HERMIE! HERMIE!!!
More than Kubel, Santana, and Giambi DHed in 2013.
Reynolds was our DH a lot early on. Swisher and Raburn did multiple times too. Even Asdrubal DHed a couple times as did Gomes, Chiz, Aviles, etc. In fact, 15 guys take an at-bat as a DH in 2013 for the Indians (though not all started a game there, like Bourn for example).
Again, not saying it's dumb to get Santana looks at 3B right now. It's extremely smart to try and get him more flexibility (I still think OF makes more sense but that's for another debate). I just don't think we see him there unless there's another move coming (which I expect there to be actually).
I get what you're saying too with getting guys like Swisher time at DH...but that's easy to do without using Santana at 3B. Simply use him at 1B or catch him. Unless we add a 3rd catcher, gonna probably be seeing Santana behind the plate 40 or so times next year. Can't see Gomes catching more than 120-130 games next year even if he hits like he did this year. hopefully Francona gives him some time as the DH as well to "rest" him.
As things stand now, I figure we see Santana catch around 40 games (hoping we bring in a 3rd catcher still though), DH around 80 games, play 1B around 30-40 games depending on how Swisher's health is (could DH him more next year). Definitely could see him at 3B for a few games...but still think it makes more sense to do that if you add a RH bat to DH/play 1B or Aguliar is called up at some point...
Not sure where you got that info, but the Indians had 15 different guys take an AB as DH in 2013.
Maybe Brantley, Bourn, Kipnis and Cabrera all DH, say, 5 times in 2014? There's 20 games where you would otherwise have to sit Santana, Gomes, or Swisher. That's enough of a reason to try this little experiment out IMO.
Agree. Doesn't hurt to give Santana more position flexibility.
I actually wonder if the Tribe isn't a little worried about Chisenhall's prospects of becoming a viable everyday 3B and aren't getting early looks at possibly trying Santana as an everyday 3B in the future...
I agree with you to an extent. I don't think this experiment is being implemented with the idea of platooning with Chisenhall this April. I think, as you hinted at, it's an experiment with an eye towards the future. Santana, Gomes, and Swisher are all under contract through 2017. I think they're just trying to make the roster as flexible as possible, and accommodating Santana's public request that he doesn't want to be relegated to DH-only.
HERMIE KNOWS ALL, JUST ASK HIM, HE'LL TELL YOU.
Let's say Santana is good enough at 3B to put out there against lefties....who takes his spot at DH then against lefties?
Right now the bench is Raburn, Aviles, and 1 or 2 of Giambi, Cooper, Adams, Ramirez.
Raburn will be in RF against lefties spelling Murphy so he can't DH against lefties. Aviles? Sure you could DH him...but why would you do that when Aviles can play 3B and play it better than Santana? Same thing applies to Adams and Ramirez. Cooper and Giambi are both lefties...maybe Cooper has a reverse split in the minors but I'm guessing he's not an option to DH against lefties.
Gomes could DH against lefties...but 2 issues there. 1) who catches then? Traneor? Marson would have been an interesting platoon option but he's gone. 2nd issue...why wouldn't you just play Gomes at 3B? He at least has played some Major League 3B.
Only option that is currently on the roster that really makes much sense to DH against lefties would be Jesus Aguliar. Problem there is would he be ready by opening day? Maybe...but my guess is he gets a decent amount of time in AAA first.
I just don't see Santana as a platoon with Chiz...not with this current roster. Maybe you add a guy like Delmon Young still. Not that I want him, but could DH against lefties. Course you could have just kept Stubbs, platooned him in RF with Murphy and DHed Raburn....
I'd still prefer to go after a guy like Jeff Baker to platoon with Chiz, especially if you could get him on a 1-year deal with an option.
Maybe Aguilar is ready sooner rather than later and he can platoon with Chiz....or maybve the Tribe is still open to adding a RH bat...