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MLB free agency: Padres, Rangers in on Carlos Santana

“Smooth” plays somewhere softly in the distance.

MLB: ALDS-Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Giancarlo / Ohtani excitement circus has packed up and left town, it’s time for all of the free agents we totally forgot existed to shine. Carlos Santana is one of the more notable free agents this winter and as Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes, the Padres and Rangers have joined the list on teams with piqued interest.

And with such an extensive discography including Supernatural and Havana Moon, it’s no surprise that both teams would be on hot pursuit of the ten-time Grammy Winner. Wait, what are you talking—I though we were—oooooh, well that’s just an honest mistake.

Moving on...the Cleveland first baseman was made a qualifying offer of $17.4M this offseason, but like literally every single other player who received a QO, he denied it to seek venture in the free agent market. Santana, who is the franchise leader in home runs as a switch hitter, slashed .259/.363/.455 in 2017. This year, he was a Gold Glove finalist.

As of now, the Rangers have a gapping hole at first base that is somehow still defensively better than Mike Napoli. Santana’s arrival would not only be an upgrade to the infield as a whole, but help safeguard the offense for the impending retirement of Adrian Beltre.

The Padres already have a viable first baseman, meaning that if the team were to acquire the Domenican Republic native, Wil Meyers will likely be bumped into a corner outfield position. San Diego has also expressed interest in free agent and master of intangibles, Eric Hosmer.

Because all is fair in love, war, and baseball contracts, acquiring Santana comes at a much higher price than whatever monetary amount a team would be cutting the check for. Since Santana turned down his QO, signing him would subject the franchise he ends up with to some penalties. The Padres would only be shedding their third-highest draft pick, to be received by Cleveland. Texas takes a little more of a hit, giving up not only their second-highest draft pick, but also $500K of international signing bonus money. (If all of this QO talk sounds like a foreign language fear not, we have a handy dandy guide for all of your qualifying offer detail needs.)

The Red Sox, Phillies, and Mariners are also in the mix for the 31-year old, though it looks like we’re too early in the game to be discussing numbers yet. Sit tight though, with the Winter Meetings just hours away deals like these will move at a breakneck speed.