Carlos Santana

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

5 possible Carlos Santana trades

Jack Fritz
November 19, 2018 - 12:50 pm

Preconceived notions be damned, the Phillies will get something of value in a Carlos Santana trade this offseason.

Related: Middleton: Might 'be stupid' about spending money​

Right now, Santana is the best first baseman available on the trade market, or in the free agent class (unless you believe that Paul Goldschmidt is actually available, which I don’t.) The point being is that Santana will get them something on the trade market and it will allow Rhys Hoskins to go back to first base. Is it going to be worth displacing Hoskins from first base to left field and paying Santana $60 million? Probably not. But just because the Santana signing was, probably, a mistake doesn’t mean the Phillies should just give him away for a bag of balls. I’m not in the business of giving away good players and neither should the Phillies.

Given the recent report from Ken Rosenthal that the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of the current Phillies first baseman, here are 5 Carlos Santana trades that I think the Phillies should consider making:

1. Carlos Santana and Vince Velasquez to the Rockies for Jon Gray

The Rockies are in win-now mode with one year left of Nolan Arenado, before either a record-breaking extension or he hits free agency. After back-to-back one-and-done’s in the playoffs the Rockies could use an upgrade at first base from Ian Desmond’s dreadful 2018 season. For the first time in it’s franchise’s history it looks like the Rockies actually could use an offensive boost instead of pitching help. Kyle Freeland and German Marquez are both very good at the top of rotation, while projected ace, Jon Gray has been just okay for them. After what looked like a break-out 2017 campaign where the 25 year old right-hander had a 3.67 era, Gray took a step back in 2018 posting a 5.12 era.

In any Santana deal, I want the Phillies to be looking for former top prospects that look like they could use a change-of-scenery and, for me, Gray fits that profile. He’s a former top five pick, with an electric fastball that may not fit in with Coors Field, but there’s something there. You don’t have a 3.67 era, while pitching a majority of your starts at Coors and not have some talent. For the Phillies, they’re taking a shot on an elite fastball, who might need a change-of-scenery and a pitcher that would be, at worst, dominant out of the bullpen and for the Rockies you get a legit first baseman as you try to make it past the first round of the playoffs with a core that is ready to win now. If the Phillies need to eat some money to make this deal, or any of these deals happen, I hope they do. It would only help them get more value back, player wise, and they have the money to do so.

2.  Carlos Santana and $6 million a year to the Yankees for Clint Frazier

The Yankees are going to trade Clint Frazier at some point this offseason. They have six outfielders and Frazier still has just enough pedigree that they’ll be able to get something for him. Why couldn’t it be Carlos Santana, especially at a discounted price? The Yanks could use a guy like Santana at first base as insurance if Luke Voit doesn’t prove to be the guy they saw down the stretch or he could DH and the Yanks could put Stanton in left field. Adding a guy like Santana to the Yankees lineup would make them deeper from the jump and would fit in perfectly with what they like to do on offense, draw walks and pop homers. For the Yanks, you’re giving up on a guy that has been dealing with concussions, that while talented, may never figure it out for a guy that continues to help you win now and is a perfect fit. For the Phils, you’re taking a shot on upside and banking that Frazier can stay healthy and be your left fielder for the next championship run. I’m willing to bank on Frazier, but giving away Santana for hope might be too risky for the Phils liking.

3. Carlos Santana and Vince Velasquez to the Twins for Byron Buxton

Buxton is coming off of a miserable 2018 that ended up with him finishing the season in the minor leagues. He just couldn’t get right and spent most of the season on, and off, the DL. Still, the upside with Buxton might be too tantalizing for a small market team, like the Twins, to move on from. Buxton spent years as the number one prospect in all of baseball and his 2017 season led most people to believing that Buxton had FINALLY arrived. In the second half of the 2017 season, Buxton batted .298, with a .342 OBP, and 11 HR’s. Buxton finally broke-out, but now after an injury riddled 2018, and an uncertain future, could the Twins wash their hands of Buxton? I wouldn’t be surprised if they did and Santana is a guy the Twins could really use. With Logan Morrison reaching free agency and, future Hall of Famer Joe Mauer retiring, the Twins need a first baseman. If the Phillies paid down some of Santana’s contract and threw in a starter like Velasquez, would that be enough to pry Buxton? I think it might. For the Phillies, they’re getting, at worst, an elite defensive center fielder. Buxton can do everything in center field and you just hope 2017 was just the beginning of his arrival on the scene.

4. Carlos Santana and Pat Neshek to the Astros for JD Davis and Francis Martes

For me, this trade is simple. The Astros are in win-now mode and would be trading two pieces that they don’t need, for two guys that they do need. Santana provides an upgrade over Yuli Gurriel at first base and even if the Astros wanted to play Gurriel at first, Santana could be their DH with Evan Gattis hitting free agency. Throw in Neshek to an already good Astros bullpen and that’s how you get two players back instead of just a one-for-one swap. For the Phillies, you’re taking a shot with these two. Davis has raked at AAA but just hasn’t put it together in the big leagues. They also don’t have a spot for him at third, or in left, so he hasn’t gotten consistent chances. I’d love for the Phils to take a shot on a guy that batted .342, with a .406 OBP and 17 homers at AAA last year and has long been considered a top 8 prospect in the loaded Astros farm system. To me, he fits the profile of a late-bloomer and I think the Phils could steal a guy like Davis from the Astros and give him the playing time he needs here at third base or left field. Martes is the former #1 overall prospect in the Astros system but, like Davis, has yet to put it together at the big league level. He is also expected to miss all of 2019 with Tommy John surgery. Still, if I can steal, what was once, an elite prospect from an elite organization, I’m doing it and the Astros appear ready to move on from Martes since they offered him up for Avisail Garcia at this trade deadline.

5. Carlos Santana to the White Sox for Lucas Giolito

This is one that I, admittedly, don’t love. I’m not sure Giolito is that good but he’s the former number one pitching prospect in the sport and fits the profile of a guy I want the Phils to target in any Santana deal. The White Sox have a ton of money and, apparently, want to spend it and get better. I would be floored if either Machado or Harper want to play there but still they have money to spend and want to get better. Santana helps them get better. Abreu is their first baseman but their DH spot is up for grabs. They put Daniel Palka at DH sometimes last year, but he could easily be moved back to a corner outfield spot to make room for a bat like Santana’s. For the Phillies, they’re taking a shot that Giolito figures it out. He’s got one of the best curveballs in the game and a mid-nineties fastball but just has never put it together at the major league level. In his age 23 season, Giolito had an era north of 6, walked the most guys in the league and allowed the most earned runs. No matter what your pedigree says you are, that’s not good. The White Sox could think to move on from Giolito and get whatever value they can get at this point and Santana would be a logical pick.