MLB Winter Meetings rumors: The market for Carlos Santana is starting to heat up

It is now mid-December, and we're all still waiting for the free-agent market to really heat up. So many of the top free agents are unsigned. Shohei Ohtani, our No. 1 free agent, has signed. Our Nos. 2-21 free agents? All still unsigned.

One of those top free agents still unsigned is switch-hitting first baseman Carlos Santana, who might not be unsigned much longer. Several teams are showing interest in Santana, including the Indians, his former team. They made him an offer weeks ago, according to Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com, though it was rejected.

So the Indians have made an offer and remain interested in re-signing him. The Red Sox, Padres, Rangers and Phillies also reportedly have interest, as do the Rockies.

Santana, who will turn 32 shortly after Opening Day, has been one of the most consistent offensive threats in baseball the last few seasons. He has posted an on-base percentage between .357 and .366 in five of the past six seasons, and the one season he didn't, he had a .377 on-base percentage. Also, Santana hit 23 home runs in 2017 and has averaged 24 since 2011.

Furthermore, Santana is also incredibly durable, having played no fewer than 152 games in six of the past seven seasons. He has played in 1,070 of 1,133 games since 2011 and ranks sixth among all players with 4,590 plate appearances since that year. Chances are you've heard a baseball person or a broadcaster say "you know what you're going to get" from a player, and that's Santana. He plays every day and he's reliably productive. That's why so many teams want him.

MLB: ALDS-Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees
Carlos Santana has no shortage of suitors at the moment. USATSI

The Indians offering Santana a three-year contract worth $36 million was admirable, though that was never going to get it done. Santana is likely looking at something closer to the four-year, $57 million contract Nelson Cruz signed a few years ago. He might even be able to get something in line with Hanley Ramirez's four-year, $88 million deal.

Because he is so durable and so productive -- and sneaky good defensively, Santana's improved so much around the bag in recent years -- it's possible Santana will sign before the more ballyhooed Eric Hosmer, who is likely seeking a larger contract and has had a more up-and-down career.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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