Page last updated on Mon Dec 22 04:10:23 EST 2014
Mon, 16 Apr 2012 12:17 PM EDT

Cleveland’s proficient catcher confirmed a 5-year, $21 million contract with the Indians, who locked up another “cornerstone” player they believe, is just beginning to tap his potential. Odds

The Indians had contractual command the next 4 years over Santana, who would not have been suitable for free agency till after the 2016 season. Nonetheless after Santana hit 27 homers last season and improved defensively after the plate, the Indians felt the timing was appropriate to guarantee he will have an extended stay in Cleveland. Scores

Santana previously has been good for the Indians. They believe he can be great.

“We still believe he’s got the ability to be an even better player,” managing director Chris Antonetti said. “We still feel there’s more in there. Carlos has showy goals for himself, not only offensively, but defensively. We’ve been very happy with the steps that he’s made in all facets of his game.”

Last season, Santana set a club record for homers by a switch hitter. He added 35 doubles, 79 RBIs and drew 97 walks in his first full season in the majors. He was one of just 4 players to have at least 25 homers, 35 doubles and Ninety walks, joining Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto.

“It’s superb,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “It’s fantastic the kid doesn’t need to fret about anything. It’s a great deal for everybody.”

Antonetti announced the only added motivations are awards for “superlative performance.” Antonetti recounted the sides began negotiating early in spring training and had a contract in place on Opening Day after “a lot of twists and turns.”

Santana’s signing is the 2nd major deal announced by the Indians already this season. Last week, the club gave All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera a new 3-year agreement.

The deals signal another step in the direction of contention for the Indians. By signing 2 core players, the club thinks it has two critical pieces to compete this season and beyond.

“These are the cornerstones of this organization,” Acta expounded. “It’s really nice to know these players aren’t going anywhere for a while.”

The Indians had past success in signing young players to long term deals and saying. It worked in the 1990s under GM John Hart, in the 2000s with Mark Shapiro and Antonetti is following the same model.

“These are the kind of deals we are willing to do when the values line up on both sides,” expounded Indians CEO Paul Dolan.

Santana played 66 games at 1st base in 2011, but the Indians will keep him behind the plate more this season. Santana occasionally will be used as the appointed hitter to rest his legs and keep his bat in a lineup that’s batting just .153 through 4 games.

The Indians acquired Santana in 2008 in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 3rd baseman Casey Blake. Antonetti credited the team’s scouting dept for identifying Santana as a potential star.

Mota has been with Santana each step along the way, and never has doubted the Dominican native even after he batted just .223 for Great Lake – the Dodgers ‘ Class-A affiliate – in 2007.

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