CLEVELAND -- The Indians have taken the first step in trying to keep free-agent first baseman Carlos Santana in the fold, while also protecting themselves in the event that he signs with another team this offseason.On Monday, Cleveland extended Santana a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer for 2018, giving the
CLEVELAND -- The Indians have taken the first step in trying to keep free-agent first baseman Carlos Santana in the fold, while also protecting themselves in the event that he signs with another team this offseason.
On Monday, Cleveland extended Santana a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer for 2018, giving the first baseman at least something to consider as he weighs his options on the open market. The contract proposal also positions the Indians to potentially net an extra pick in next June's MLB Draft, if Santana heads elsewhere. Santana has 10 days to accept or decline the offer.
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The Indians did not give a qualifying offer to setup man Bryan Shaw, who was also eligible. The team also declined the $7 million club option to retain veteran lefty Boone Logan, who will get a $1 million buyout and joins Jay Bruce, Joe Smith, Craig Breslow, Austin Jackson, Santana and Shaw among Cleveland's free agents.
Under the latest Collective Bargaining Agrement, if Santana were to reject the Indians' qualifying offer and then sign a contract worth at least $50 million total with a new team, Cleveland would then be eligible for a Draft pick between the first round and Competive Balance Round A in the 2018 MLB Draft. If the contract were under $50 million, the Indians' compensatory pick would fall after Competive Balance Round B, which is after the second round.
There is mutual interest between Santana and the Indians to keep the first baseman in Cleveland, but he is coming off a solid season and has a chance to cash in with a multiyear contract. In the previous five offseasons, only five of the 64 players extended qualifying offers have accepted the deal.
Santana, who will turn 32 in April, hit .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs, 37 doubles, 79 RBIs, 88 walks and 90 runs in 154 games this past season, and is a finalist for the American League Gold Glove Award for first basemen. That showing in 2017 was similar Santana's production over the past seven years, in which he hit .249/.363/.445 with an average of 24 homers, 32 doubles, 81 RBIs, 98 walks and 79 runs in 153 games per season.
If Santana does leave, the team will have a hole to fill at first base. Internally, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion and outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall have experience at the position. Cleveland could also consider moving Michael Brantley to first base from left field, given his history of injury woes over the past two years. The Indians picked up Brantley's $12 million team option for '18 on Friday.
Like Santana, Shaw has expressed a desire to stay in Cleveland, but the chances of him returning appear lower. The right-hander, who will turn 30 on Wednesday, could be in line for a multiyear contract after eclipsing 70 relief appearances for the fifth consecutive season. Shaw had a 3.52 ERA in 79 games in '17, and has led all relievers in games (378), pitches (5,892) and innings (tied, 358 2/3) over the past five years combined.
Logan, 33, turned in a 4.71 ERA in 38 appearances for the Indians this past season, striking out 28 and walking nine in 21 innings as a lefty specialist. He sustained a season-ending left lat injury in July and elected to head into the offseason without having surgery. While Logan was sidelined, Tyler Olson emerged as a reliable left-handed weapon out of the bullpen for manager Terry Francona.
Other roster moves: The Indians activated right-handers Cody Anderson and Dylan Baker from the 60-day disabled list Monday. Minor League catcher Eric Haase had his contract purchased from Triple-A Columbus, putting him on Cleveland's 40-man roster.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.