KANSAS CITY -- Royals general manager Dayton Moore has said all offseason that he has been coveting a middle-of-the-order bat.
Moore believes he found that on Tuesday with the signing of switch-hitting first baseman Carlos Santana to a two-year deal. The contract is worth $17.5 million, a source told MLB.com.
“One of our goals was to add to the middle of our lineup, and Carlos does that,” Moore said in a Zoom call. “He is an all-around terrific person. [Royals assistant general manager] Rene Francisco signed him when he was with the Dodgers [organization]. We have a previous relationship with him. That made the startup of the conversation go extremely well.
“We have admired Carlos for a long time within this division. We have watched him develop and mature into a productive hitter, a winning-type player. Very grateful he can be part of our organization. He fits in extremely well with our lineup and our players.”
Moore also has said this offseason that he wants to look for players with high on-base percentages.
Santana, 34, hit just .199 with a .699 OPS over 60 games in 2020, though he did have an American League-leading 47 walks and a .349 on-base percentage. The veteran switch-hitter earned his first All-Star selection the year before, recording a .281/.397/.515 slash line and tying his career high with 34 homers.
The immediate domino effect of Santana’s signing is that Hunter Dozier, who started last season in right field and then switched to first base, will move to third base in 2021. Dozier started his career with the Royals at third.
“Right now, Hunter is obviously going to play some third and outfield,” Moore said. “There will be times when Hunter plays some first base as well. We’ll continue to utilize Hunter’s versatility. He is such a team player, and he's extremely athletic and willing to move around the diamond.”
Santana has played 11 big league seasons -- 10 with the Indians, spanning two stints, and one with the Phillies. He’s a lifetime .248/.366/.446 hitter with 240 homers and 991 walks in 1,495 games.
Santana will be the Royals’ starting first baseman, with Dozier taking over at third for Maikel Franco, who was non-tendered.
Santana has had huge success against the Royals, especially at Kauffman Stadium. In his career against Kansas City, Santana has 31 home runs and 93 RBIs with a .953 OPS. At the K, Santana has 18 home runs, 61 RBIs and a 1.077 OPS.