If it wasn’t meant to be a year ago, maybe acquiring the services of Carlos Santana this year are in the cards? If Major League Baseball was more like the National Basketball Association, the Washington Nationals might have their designated hitter for the 2022 season. There is going to be a universal DH after the lockout ends, right?
Rumor has it the Kansas City Royals would like to trade Santana. Fact has it, the Nationals have some interest in acquiring the services of Santana (well, they did a year ago at least). This could be a situation where Santana and a young prospect go to the Nationals for a fringe player. Salary relief for one team, compensation in the form of young talent for the other.
Expiring contracts are traded all the time in the NBA, then buyouts occur. A lot of times draft picks are the compensation of choice. Hey, take this first round pick to get this guy off our ledger. Trades like this don’t happen very often in baseball, when they do they seem to involve the Los Angeles Dodgers (Hector Olivera, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp).
Carlos Santana seems to be available in a trade, one which the Nationals could arguably make if they were given prospect compensation.
Santana would be a fit for the Nationals at designated hitter, part time first baseman. The elephant in the room is whether or not Ryan Zimmerman will return to fill that role. Santana, who will turn 36 years old the first week of the 2022 season, would slide nicely in the batting order ahead of Juan Soto.
Are there better options out there? Yes. Are there cheaper options out there? Yes. Remember, this trade works best if the Royals part with some sort of talent. Will the Nationals get a Top 10 player? No. Could they get a Riley Adams type or Tanner Roark type for down the road? Definitely. The Nationals are still rebuilding, with no expectations of winning anything this year. With that being the case, pay Santana the remaining $10.5M on his contract and let him get walked ahead of Soto.
Santana has twice led the league in free passes, and on several occasions in his career, walked more than he struck out. He has a little pop in the bat and will help make the Nationals more competitive in 2022.
The Lerners, nor general manager, Mike Rizzo, seem like the type to take on salary for the benefit of getting a future piece. Though, if they were. Carlos Santana would be a fit for the Nationals.