C/1B/3B Carlos Santana Cleveland Indians
Contract: 5 years, $21 million ($4.25 million)
Whew. All the overvalued talk felt like a lot of negativity, but that’s over now. Mike Trout was going to be the first player on this side of the spectrum, and while he should be the highest paid player in the game, he still makes $24 million per year. It’s hard to say he’s one of the most undervalued players in the game.
The Indians’ Carlos Santana most definitely is, though. Not only can he take some of the slack off Yan Gomes and catch a few games—which he did when he first came up to the major leagues, but he adds a crazy good bat to the lineup.
How good? Last season, he smacked a career high 27 home runs (we shouldn’t denigrate traditional statistics like home runs altogether) and led the American League in walks with 113. As a result, he has a sparkling career .367 on-base percentage in five seasons.
His career .442 slugging percentage isn’t going to earn him any Hall of Fame mention, but an OPS over .800 shows he is a very underrated hitter. All that, and he’s earning just a bit over $4 million per season. That’s a deal for the Indians—who quietly have a lot of quality players at relative bargain contracts.
None is the bargain, however, of Santana and his quality bat.
Next: Probably the biggest bargain in baseball