By Evan Brunell
Catcher or first base?
That's the question confronting the Indians as to where Carlos Santana will play next season.
"He can do both," Indians manager Manny Acta told MLB.com. "It all depends on what we do with our first-base situation."
Santana followed up a fantastic rookie campaign (.260/.401/.467 in 192 plate appearances, cut short by inury) with a bit of a step back, but still productive at .236/.348/.446, enjoying a better second half. He's appeared in 90 games as catcher, and according to Defensive Runs Saved has been a below-average catcher. At first, though, he's also noted as a below-average in 56 games at first, but defensive numbers -- or any baseball stat, really, -- in this small a sample size can't be relied on.
The Indians' first-base situation has been thrown into flux because of Matt LaPorta stalling out in his development. LaPorta has received ample time the past two seasons to hit and this year was a put-up or shut-up situation. He's shut up, but the Indians could still give the 26-year-old another shot next year. They could also trade or sign for a catcher (the Rockies' Chris Iannetta is available) or first baseman. Either way, Santana's ability to play two positions -- especially one as valuable as catcher -- give the Indians a good amount of flexibility moving forward.
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