Bringing in Carlos Santana would solidify a corner position for a few years but would negate Dominic Smith’s ascension.
The New York Mets are listed as one of several teams interested in acquiring first baseman Carlos Santana, according to Fan Rag Sports’ Jon Heyman. This comes after general manager, Sandy Alderson made comments about Dominic Smith’s conditioning and that he hadn’t won the job in September.
For the short term, this is an absolute upgrade. Santana is a switch hitter with more pop from the left side, but a better average from the right side. Plus, he was one of the top defensive first basemen in the league. He was named a finalist for the Gold Glove award and had 10 defensive runs saved, which tied for second most among all qualified first basemen.
Santana would also re-unite with Mickey Callaway. The two were in Cleveland for all of Callaway’s tenure. Santana has been with Cleveland since he came up to the majors in 2010. He’s also been very durable, playing in at least 150 games over six of his seven full seasons.
Meanwhile, Dominic Smith struggled with consistency at the plate in his audition with the Mets. Smith also had -7 defensive runs saved, flying in the face of what was considered a strength. We did see a glimpse of his raw power (nine homers in 49 games), but his strikeout rate rose drastically. Smith struck out once every 5.8 at bats in the minors. That spiked to once every 3.4 at bats in the majors.
All this is to say Smith didn’t look ready for the everyday duties so you can understand why the Mets are potentially going after a more established first baseman in Santana. The bigger question is, will trade rumors start to swirl more heavily around the 22-year old Smith? Alderson’s comments were brief, but clear.
Another factor to consider is the Mets’ farm system. Peter Alonso was a second-round draft pick in 2016, and made it to Double-A Binghamton by the end of 2017. Alonso is the same age as Smith and could be ready by the time any hypothetical deal for Santana would expire.
It will be interesting to see how the future dominoes fall in regard to Smith and to a lesser extent, Alonso. This link makes a statement the Mets are not near willing to gamble on Smith coming back and winning the job in spring training. Santana would provide a stable veteran presence in the field and a bat that can slug 20-25 homers.