The Indians have turned down club options for first baseman Carlos Santana, outfielder/designated hitter Domingo Santana and left-handed reliever Brad Hand, per Zack Meisel of The Athletic. They have, however, picked up catcher Roberto Perez’s $5.5MM option.
Carlos Santana will get a $500K buyout instead of the $17.5MM salary he could have made. Domingo Santana will earn $250K in lieu of a $5MM salary. Meanwhile, the Indians will pay Hand $1MM over the $10MM figure he was due on his option.
It’s not a surprise the small-budget Indians are moving on from the Santanas, at least at those prices. Carlos Santana has spent all but one season of his career in Cleveland since it began in 2010 and has performed quite well, but he’s now coming off a disappointing year. Santana’s keen eye at the plate did lead to more walks (47) than strikeouts (43), but his average and power declined significantly en route to a .199/.349/.350 line with eight home runs in 255 PA. Even with another effective season, it would have been difficult to imagine the Indians keeping the 34-year-old for such a lofty fee.
The Indians took a chance last free agency on Domingo Santana, who once looked like a breakout hitter with the Brewers. Santana struggled late in 2019 with the Mariners, though, and that carried into this year. He gave the Indians a horrid .157/.298/.286 line with a paltry two HRs in 84 PA.
It’s not at all eyebrow-raising that the Indians are moving on from Hand, as they placed him on outright waivers Thursday. The move came as a shock at the time, though Hand nonetheless cleared waivers instead of netting the Indians something in a trade or saving them from a buyout. He’ll head to free agency as a 30-year-old with an outstanding track record, including three All-Star appearances. Hand’s now fresh off a season in which he led baseball in saves (16, with no blown chances), put up a magnificent 2.05 ERA/1.37 FIP and posted 11.86 K/9 against 1.64 BB/9 in 22 innings.
Perez was one of the game’s top all-around catchers as recently as 2019, but a right shoulder injury limited his appearances and his effectiveness this year. However, despite slashing a woeful .165/.264/.216 with one HR over 110 PA, the Indians are keeping him in the fold. As things stand, they have two light-hitting, defensively gifted backstops in Perez and Austin Hedges, who could combine to make in the $8.5MM neighborhood in 2021.