The LA Angels did not have great production from first base this season. CJ Cron showed potential to be an above-average hitter and defender, but was extremely inconsistent. This is why the Halos are rumored to be among the near dozen teams interested in free agent Carlos Santana.
CJ Cron struggled mightily for the LA Angels down the stretch in 2017. On the brink of a playoff berth, Cron only hit .222 with 37 strikeouts in September and October for the Halos. This was not a good way for him to end the season, and only encouraged the Angels to look outside of the organization for a first baseman.
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Carlos Santana did not blow anyone’s mind in 2017, but would be a substantial upgrade at first if the Halos can reel him in. He finished the season with 23 home runs on a .259 average. He had 40 more extra-base hits (37 doubles, three triples,) and had an on-base percentage of .363. That, paired with exceptional defense at first and in right field, makes him the prototypical Billy Eppler free agent signing.
All of this is exactly what Billy Eppler looks for in players. Now, throw in the fact that Santana can switch-hit and you practically have the Angels general manager salivating at the mouth. If signed, Santana would bring balance in the lineup, solid defense, and another veteran leader who has playoff (and World Series) experience.
Santana will be 32-years old at the beginning of the 2018 season. While it seems old, most of the free agent first basemen this season are on the wrong side of 30, and Santana has not shown any signs of slowing down.
Halo fans have become increasingly frustrated by the team’s choice to not give Cron regular starts at first. They have always been quick to option the young slugger to Triple-A as soon as he goes cold. Santana would be another obstacle for Cron to play, especially given Mike Scioscia‘s reluctance to take Albert Pujols out of the lineup.
Santana has been a Cleveland Indian his entire career. However, if Santana chooses to come to Anaheim as a temporary fix, he would be filling one of the biggest holes for this offense.