Santana signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Royals on Tuesday, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. The 34-year-old first baseman is coming off a down year where he hit .199/.349/.350 with eight home runs in 60 games for Cleveland. However, he hit .281/.397/.515 with 34 home runs and a 4.4 fWAR as recently as 2019. This move signals that the Royals are ready to try to compete for a playoff spot in 2021. Santana fills a big hole at first base, so he should be an everyday staple in the middle of the lineup.
Santana's $17.5 million team option was declined by Cleveland on Friday, Zack Meisel of The Athletic reports. Santana spent 10 of the first 11 years of his career in Cleveland, but he had a career-worst .199/.349/.350 slash line with eight home runs and 30 RBI during the 2020 season. It's little surprise to see the team decline his expensive contract option, although it's unclear whether the two sides have interest in a reunion on a cheaper deal.
Santana went 3-for-3 with a homer, four RBI, three runs scored and a walk in Sunday's 8-6 win over the Pirates. Santana got Cleveland on the board with a two-run homer in the third inning. He scored again on a Franmil Reyes blast in the sixth. Santana then added a two-RBI double in the seventh before scoring a third time on Reyes' sacrifice fly. The strong finale left Santana with a .199/.349/.350 slash line, eight homers, 30 RBI and 34 runs scored in 60 games this season.
Santana went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a walk Wednesday, as the Indians beat the White Sox 3-2. Still south of the Mendoza Line, Santana has hit two timely home runs in this pivotal series against the White Sox. Regardless, he is still slashing a weak .160/.276/.440 over his past seven games.
Santana went 3-for-5 with two RBI in Sunday's 7-5 loss to Minnesota. With three singles Sunday, Santana registered his first multi-hit game since Sep. 6 and has just two this month. The 34-year-old slugger owns an unsightly .692 OPS with 23 RBI on the season.