Detroit Tigers: 10 Free Agents to sign heading into the 2021 season

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports /

First Baseman/Designated Hitter: Carlos Santana

The switch-hitting catcher turned first baseman/designated hitter tormented the Detroit Tigers organization for years during his long-stint with the Cleveland Indians.  Santana came after the great Victor Martinez honoring the legendary Indians, Tigers catcher/designated hitter by wearing his number 41.

After spending eight years with the Indians, Carlos Santana headed over to the National League (NL), spending one season with the Philadelphia Phillies for a season.  Playing in the NL hadn’t been a good fit for an aging former catcher that had been destined to settle in as a designated hitter.

Now, with the NL likely to take on the DH full-time moving forward, players such as Santana won’t be limited to just the American League.  Santana has since returned for a reunion with the Indians over the last two seasons.

Santana’s $17.5-million club option with the Tribe won’t be picked up by the Indians, leaving the 35-year old switch hitter looking for employment elsewhere.  Santana hit a mere .199 last season, hitting eight home runs while driving in 30 runs.  Santana led the league with 47 walks, which contributed to an impressive .349 on-base percentage considering his awful batting average.

The Detroit Tigers are not in the market for a full-time designated hitter, with that spot usually occupied by Miguel Cabrera. With Cabrera’s desire to return to the diamond even in a limited role, perhaps the two veterans could split the season in the field at first base.

I don’t have a real problem with Cabrera’s passion for playing the field, but it’s apparent that the veteran slugger can’t maintain his health by playing the field full-time.  Having Santana rostered to split time isn’t the worst thing in the world to keep Miguel engaged in all facets of the game.  He seems to be a much better hitter when he’s playing the field, and he claims it’s due to keeping his mind into the swing of things (pun intended).

Although Jeimer Candelario excelled after moving from third base to first, his spectacular defense is best utilized at the ‘hot corner.’