ORLANDO — The Mets, Angels and Phillies are new surprise players for Indians free agent first baseman Carlos Santana in what could wind up being spirited bidding for the second-best first-base option on the market.
At least the Red Sox, Mariners and incumbent Indians also are believed to have interest in Santana, who is thought to be drawing interest from as many as 10 teams.
Eric Hosmer, who is three years younger, is the conceded top free agent first baseman, but Santana is emerging as a nice cost-efficient alternative — though he may not wind up being too cost-efficient.
The Indians also are still hoping to retain their first baseman, who was a Gold Glove finalist this year (behind, yes, Hosmer), but the market at first base is going to produce bigger contracts than last year due to the need and talent considerations. As many as 10 teams are looking at first base, with the Rangers, Cardinals, Rays and Royals also talking to first-base options. The market is pretty stocked with first basemen, including also Logan Morrison, Yonder Alonso, Mark Reynolds, Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland and a few others.
The Mets are interesting player here, as they’ve been seen as more likely to find someone to share first base with Wilmer Flores. However, they do need to add significant production, and they surely understand that. They’d be interested in an outfielder who can also play first, and are also looking at their former player Jay Bruce, who’d fit again.
Santana’s reps at Octagon have put out a glossy book touting Santana’s positives, and there are many, including his seven straight seasons with at least a .350 on-base percentage. The book touts his consistency and durability for the player also known for his versatility; he’s a switch hitter who can also bat leadoff or cleanup due to his power on on-base capabilities.
He’s three years older than Hosmer so he won’t be playing in the $100 million-plus stratosphere. But look for him to capitalize on a nice market.