When he was unable to duplicate his 2019 performance in 2020, Danny Santana left millions of dollars on the table as he is likely to be non-tendered by the Texas Rangers.
After a career of bouncing around the league and shuttling back and forth from the minors to the majors, Danny Santana finally landed a job where he was in the lineup every day. For the first time since his rookie season, Santana was getting regular at-bats. One difference. He was hitting for power for the first time in his career.
The offensive production Santana put up in 2019 for the Texas Rangers was an unexpected surprise. In the five prior years he had hit only 17 home runs. In ’19, he blasted 28. He drove in 81 runs and stole 21 bases, all while playing seven different positions.
Danny Santana was the 2019 version of Marwin Gonzalez, the do-it-all utility man with pop in the bat and swagger in the step.
Up to the ’19 season Santana was being paid peanuts, relatively speaking. His performance that season entitled him to a $3.6M pay day for 2020 and if he could follow up on the offensive numbers he put forth, would be making even more in arbitration this offseason.
He didn’t follow up those offensive numbers in 2020.
Santana played just 15 games and hit just .145. He struck out in 46% of the at-bats he had. To add injury to insult, he was sidelined for the year when he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow.
This injury will keep Santana out until late March. With that went his dreams of making big money and keeping a hold on his starting job.
The Rangers have no choice other than to non-tender Santana before the December 2nd deadline. He went from a guy who could play anywhere on the field and hit home runs, to a 30 year-old coming off a serious injury who strikes out too much. No reason to pay him that kind of many when there is no guarantee he can produce the numbers he did in 2019.
Danny Santana is an underdog story and I like the player he is. If he wants to make his way back up the pay scale he’ll have to prove himself all over again.