When the Philadelphia Phillies included first baseman Carlos Santana as part of a trade that netted them shortstop Jean Segura from the Seattle Mariners last December, it was viewed in some circles as a steal by general manager Matt Klentak. Not only did the Phillies acquire an All-Star caliber shortstop, but they moved Santana – and the $40 plus million left on his deal – without having to eat any money.
They did take back reliever Juan Nicasio’s $9 million salary for 2019, but the trade was largely viewed as a win by the Phillies. It wasn’t that Santana wasn’t a good player, but he hit into bad luck in his lone season with the Phillies – his .231 batting average on balls in play in 2018 is 36 points lower than his career average. He also pushed Rhys Hoskins to left field, an experiment that flat out didn’t work.
The thought process in moving on from Santana was sound. He fit better on an American League roster.
But no one could have envisioned the resurgence that Santana has had in his second stint with the Cleveland Indians, who re-acquired him in a separate trade from the Mariners in December of 2018.
Not only has Santana had a bounce-back season in 2019, but the 33-year-old has had a career-year. In 546 at-bats in 2019, Santana has slashed .282/.398/.526 with 34 home runs, 91 RBIs, 105 walks, a .924 OPS and a career-high 4.4 fWAR. The man affectionately referred to as “Slamtana” represented the Indians in the All-Star Game at Progressive Field in July, and has helped to keep them in the postseason race.
Friday night, Santana will welcome his former team to Cleveland, with he and the Indians in a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for the second American League Wild Card spot and not entirely eliminated from the American League Central race. The Phillies, meanwhile, are 78-73, and have just a 0.7 percent chance to reach the postseason, per FanGraphs. They’ve had the type of season that, at times, has made you want to smash your TV with a baseball bat.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Phillies series-opener with the Tribe:
- Cesar Hernandez, second base
- Bryce Harper, right field
- Rhys Hoskins, first base
- Jay Bruce, DH
- Jean Segura, shortstop
- Brad Miller, left field
- Scott Kingery, third base
- Adam Haseley, center fielder
- Andrew Knapp, catcher
- Francisco Lindor, shortstop
- Oscar Mercado, center field
- Carlos Santana, first base
- Yasiel Puig, right field
- Jordan Luplow, left field
- Franmil Reyes, DH
- Roberto Perez, catcher
- Yu Chang, third base
- Andrew Velazquez, second base
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup
- Drew Smyly (4-6, 6.22 ERA and 6.48 FIP) vs. Shane Bieber (14-7, 3.26 ERA and 3.39 FIP)
- In 10 starts since joining the Phillies, Smyly is 3-1 with a 4.14 ERA and 5.00 FIP in 10 starts.
- Bieber was a first-time All-Star this season, and won the All-Star Game MVP.
Pregame Phillies Nuggets
- Bryce Harper is hitless in nine career at-bats at Progressive Field.
- Franmil Reyes was acquired from the San Diego Padres by the Indians in the same July trade that saw them send RHP Trevor Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds and land outfielder Yasiel Puig. Reyes, 24, has hit 35 combined home runs between the Padres and Indians in 2019. Three of those home runs came against the Phillies in the same early June series in San Diego where Andrew McCutchen tore his ACL, Jay Bruce made his Phillies debut and Seranthony Dominguez exited with a UCL injury that he’s yet to return from.
- Adam Haseley has slashed .286/.400/.548 in 42 at-bats in September.
- Still just 25, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor has accumulated 27.3 fWAR in his first five major league seasons. By comparison, future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter posted a 23.5 fWAR through his first five major league seasons.
- Jay Bruce, who spent the second-half of the 2017 season with the Indians, has 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 184 career at-bats at Progressive Field.
- Progressive Field
- 7:10 p.m. ET
- NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- Matt Klentak: We Want J.T. Realmuto To Be A Phillie For A ‘Long, Long Time’
- Get Ready To Hear The Phillies Connected To 2 Nationals Quite A Bit
- Alex Cora: Aaron Nola Is The Best Pitcher We’ve Faced The Last Two Seasons
- Matt Klentak Says Scott Kingery’s Versatility Makes Him ‘Incredibly Valuable’
- What Would A Long-Term Deal Look Like For J.T. Realmuto?
- Phillies Reportedly Considered Waiving Maikel Franco Before Season’s End
- Bryce Harper: It Would Be ‘An Absolute Joke’ If J.T. Realmuto Doesn’t Win Gold Glove Award
- Minor League Mash-Up: Howard, Bohm Highlight Regular Season
- Mike Scioscia Reportedly Would Have Interest In Managing Phillies
- Bryce Harper And Wife Kayla Welcome First Child