Santana was one of the top bats on the market, coming in at No. 9 on Ben Reiter’s list of free agents available this winter. He batted .259 last season with a .363 on-base percentage and 23 homers.
The signing gives new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler a bit a tough assignment in determining his defensive alignment. Santana has played catcher and third base before but at nearly 32 doesn’t seem like a candidate to move back up the defensive spectrum, so he should be the everyday first baseman. But the Phillies have two young first basemen—breakout rookie Rhys Hoskins, who hit 18 homers in 50 games, and Tommy Joseph—who should also be in the lineup. Hoskins saw some time in leftfield last season, but hadn’t played an inning in the outfield in the minors. And then there’s third baseman Maikel Franco, who might be better suited for the other corner given his defensive struggles.
“I think there’s a ton of room for growth both on defense and with the bat, and I think that’s something that he would share as well,” Kapler told reporters of Franco at the winter meetings. “He’s a very dynamic player with a tremendous ceiling, and he’s in the process of working towards tapping his potential.”
One thing’s for sure—the Phillies won’t be lacking for power in 2018.