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Indians Carlos Santana experimenting with 3B in Dominican League 84

The Cleveland Indians have more bats that defensive spots to play them, but might be coming up with an innovative solution to solve this “problem”.  According to Paul Hoynes, Indians beat writer for the Northeast Ohio Media Group, Santana has played 3B for about a week now for the Dominican League Leones del Escogido ballclub:

Santana is hitting .350 (7-for-20) with three errors for the Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Republic. Two of the errors came in one game – one on a throw, one on a ground ball.

“It’s still very early in the process,” said GM Chris Antonetti. “Sarbie [referring to the Indians infield coach Mike Sarbaugh] has been down there for a few days with Carlos. He’s made a couple of errors, but so far the reports have been encouraging.

“He made two errors in one game, but he also made a nice diving play.”

Santana has primarily been the Indians catcher the past three seasons, logging over 90 games per season (2011-13) while also getting at bats at 1B and DH.  He hits for power (18+ HR) and has drawn over 90 walks in each of his full seasons.  Santan a finished 15th in the American League MVP voting, as well.

Santana made trade in the "tools of ignorance" for the hot corner (Credit: AP/Carlos Osorio)

Santana made trade in the “tools of ignorance” for the hot corner in 2014
(Credit: AP/Carlos Osorio)

With the solid offense and defense of the younger Indians C Yan Gomes behind the plate and Nick Swisher at 1B, the Tribe would welcome the flexibility to play Santana at 3B with regularity.  It would also reduce the physical wear and tear on Santana as they will count on him to produce in a division race with reigning AL Central Champion Detroit Tigers.  According to Hoynes, the last time he played that position was as a Dodgers prospect in lower minor league levels, and he’ll also have Spring Training to get more reps at the hot corner.  The Indians have Santana locked up through 2016, with a 2017 team option so the move makes sense for the ballclub’s long term prospects.

While fantasy baseball owners would welcome the flexibility to play Santana at 3B in 2014, losing his catcher eligibility over the out years would reduce his draft value.

– David Whitlock

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