Kansas City Royals: What to do with Carlos Santana

Sep 20, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Carlos Santana (41) looks at his cap in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Carlos Santana (41) looks at his cap in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Kansas City Royals are going to need to make a decision in the next few months. Nick Pratto is seemingly on the fast track to join the Royals, adding another exciting young player to the roster. Pratto is one of the players that the team is dreaming on, someone that could be a cornerstone for the next few years.

That time would seemingly happen whenever the regular season begins or shortly thereafter. The problem is that the Royals have a large roadblock at first in the form of Carlos Santana and his $10.5 million salary.

Kansas City Royals need clarity at first base

Considering the number of teams looking for a first baseman, Santana would normally seem to be a viable trade option, even with that salary. The problem is that he was mediocre at best last season. While he was still able to get on base, Santana produced a .214/.319/.342 batting line in his 659 plate appearances, hitting 19 homers and 15 doubles.

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His struggles last season can be explained. Santana was battling a quad injury amongst other leg issues, causing him to wear down as the season progressed. That also makes a possible trade that much more difficult as there is no guarantee that he can remain healthy.

The Royals’ best option is to clearly hold on to Santana and hope that he can regain his form. The batting eye is still there, as is his ability to make contact. It is just a matter of that contact result in hits as he has cratered in regards to his batting average on balls in play. Even that option has a limited shelf life given Pratto’s proximately to the majors.

Chances are, Santana will have a couple of months to prove himself. The Royals would likely want to push Pratto’s arbitration clock as far back as possible, and he does have just 270 plate appearances in Triple-A. There are built in excuses to send Pratto back to the minors, even if it is temporary. But Santana will need to show something in order to hold on to his job in Kansas City.

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The Kansas City Royals have a major roadblock at first base. They are going to need Carlos Santana to show something early in 2022.