The Indians made a somewhat radical move this season, transitioning catcher Carlos Santana to third base in an effort to squeeze both him and Yan Gomes into their everyday lineup. The club has had a long-standing hole at third base and Santana played the hot corner in the minors, so why not?
The early defensive returns on Santana at third have been mixed (at best). The growing pains in the field were expected. What wasn't expected was Santana's bat failing to come north from spring training. The 28-year-old is 12-for-86 (.140) with two homers in 25 total games, which works out to a 62 OPS+. This is guy whose worst season as a big leaguer was a 121 OPS+ in 2012.
Santana kinda sorta broke out of an ugly 4-for-63 (.063) slump with two hits on Monday night, including a three-run home run. Manager Terry Francona has kept the switch-hitting Santana in the cleanup spot to help balance out his lefty heavy lineup, and he remains confident his third baseman will snap out of it. Here's what he told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:
“Right now he has temporary amnesia, but that will go away,” said Francona.
That made me laugh more than it should have. Francona has always been pretty great with words.