Seeing Carlos Santana play in anything other than a Cleveland Indians uniform still feels weird.
But that was the case Monday when Santana stepped to the plate in a Kansas City Royals uniform during the home opener.
That franchise decided to give him a nice two-year deal, one the Indians could have easily matched, and fans know Santana deserved it.
So it made total sense Monday when Santana stepped to the plate and the limited capacity crowd got loud to welcome him home.
A warm ovation from @Indians fans for Carlos Santana. 👏👏#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/0SMB4WtzvZ
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) April 5, 2021
He ended up receiving the largest ovation of the day during the shutout loss for the Indians.
Carlos Santana Will be in Cleveland Often
The fact Santana is playing within the American League Central means fans will get plenty of chances to give him more ovations like this as the season continues.
Getting more fans in the park in May, June, and so on means he will get an even louder hero’s welcome every time.
The ovation was nice and he should get another Wednesday afternoon.
The frustrating thing is that the Indians could have easily matched the deal paying Santana $17.5 million over the next two seasons.
Instead, Jake Bauers won the first base job and isn’t even playing as Yu Chang continues to get platoon action at the position.
Letting Santana walk for a prospect like Bobby Bradley is one thing.
But a player out of minor league options like Bauers?
Or a utility guy like Chang?
Hopefully, this situation can resolve itself later in the season.
Carlos Santana’s Impressive Career
What a play by Carlos Santana against his former team. #Royals win the first game over Cleveland, 3-0. pic.twitter.com/NlppfsKrBA
— Anne Rogers (@anne__rogers) April 5, 2021
Santana will turn 35 years old this week and still has a lot of great baseball left in him.
He is about as durable as they come and played in all 60 games for the Indians in 2020.
Before that in 2019 he made his first All-Star Game and also took home a Silver Slugger Award.
Santana left Cleveland the first time following the 2017 season when he signed a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.
That experiment lasted one season before he was traded to the Seattle Mariners, and then sent back to Cleveland in another deal.
This was the same deal that sent Bauers to Cleveland as well.
Indians fans truly saw Santana grow up before their eyes.
He made his MLB debut in 2010 as a catcher and eventually shifted away from the position a few years later.
Santana was always a reliable player and was the unsung hero of so many Indians teams.
Unfortunately, the team is in a position now where his current deal is too much money.
That leaves everyone appreciating what Santana did, while praying the likes of Bauers and Chang can fill the void at first base.
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