Phillies 2018 season preview: First baseman Carlos Santana

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CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Carlos Santana #41 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 20, 2018 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Carlos Santana #41 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait on February 20, 2018 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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Is has been some time since the Phillies have brought in a big-name free agent. How will Carlos Santana fit in his first season in Philadelphia?

The past few seasons for the Phillies have been focused on young talent. The team has made an emphasis on developing its young talent, and bringing in veterans on short deals to help the young players develop, and also to potentially flip them at the trade deadline for more prospects.

The Carlos Santana signing is a sign that the rebuild is nearing an end, as the team signed him to a 3 year 60 million dollar deal, which goes against everything the team has been doing in the past few seasons.

While the signing was unexpected, it does make sense for the team, as Santana possesses many qualities which the organization will want to see in their young talent.

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This sentiment was echoed by general manager Matt Klentak to ESPN:

"“It’s our goal to put forth a lineup every day one through eight of players who grind at-bats, take pitches, work walks, hit for power, make opposing pitchers work,” Klentak said. “There are few players in baseball who are as good at that as Carlos.”"

With young talent, comes bad habits at the plate.

The addition of Santana will be essential to furthering the development of the team’s young core. He will be a shining example of how a Major League Baseball player should conduct themselves at the plate, and in the clubhouse.

Santana had a good 2017 season with the Indians hitting .259 with 23 home runs, 88 walks, 79 RBI, 90 runs scored, and 148 hits.

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Throughout his career, Santana has been a consistent producer at the plate, hitting 20 or more home runs in five of his seven full seasons in the big leagues. He is two years removed from his best season, when he hit .259 with 34 home runs, 99 walks and 87 RBI in 2016.

Not only is Santana an upgrade for the Phillies offensively, he also has shown major improvement on defense. He was a finalist for the Gold Glove award in 2017. While he ultimately did not take home the honor, he was named the Wilson defensive player of the year at first base.

For 2018, I project Santana to bat .275 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 90 strike outs, 95 walks, and 94 runs scored. While the Indians’ offense is one of the best in the league, I think hitting in the middle of the Phillies lineup, in a smaller ballpark, will allow for Santana for have a career year.

Next: Phillies 2018 season preview: OF Roman Quinn

Throughout his career, Santana has shown to improve every season, and I think in 2018 he will make more small improvements, on his way to his best offensive campaign to date.

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