The Mets are among ten teams with interest in free agent first baseman Carlos Santana. The Phillies, Dodgers, Mariners, and Indians were also listed as teams who are interested in signing the 31 year old. The Dodgers and Phillies both had strong rookie performers at first base (Cody Bellinger and Rhys Hoskins), but either player could shift to the corner outfield and both franchises have plenty of money to spend. Meanwhile, the Mariners and Indians have a much more obvious need at first base, but also much more limited budgets.
As discussed in our post from last week about the free agent options at first base, Carlos Santana is is probably the best player on the market. While he’s older than Eric Hosmer, Santana has provided better offense and much better defense over his career. Yet even though he’s been an objectively better player, Santana is expected to sign a contract less than half the size of Hosmer’s. That makes him at least a possibility for the Mets, despite their severely limited budget this offseason.
For the Mets, this shows that the front office is at least exploring the option of replacing Dominic Smith as the starting first baseman in 2018. Though he has a top 100 prospect pedigree, Smith was a disaster during his major league debut, batting a mere .198/.262/.395 in 183 PA. It’s not fair to dismiss a player outright after such a small sample, but it’s also foolish to rely on such a player to fill a major role on a contending team, particularly when the team is planning to hide a similarly unproductive bat at shortstop in Amed Rosario. Santana would offer a significant upgrade for the 2018 roster, if he can be fit into the budget.