Infield Notes: Harrison, White, Santana

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Free agent utilityman Josh Harrison fielded multiple offers from teams before the institution of the lockout, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. As is to be expected given Harrison’s skillset, Nicholson-Smith suggests different clubs have indicated they’d deploy the 34-year-old in different roles depending on team need. This past season, he started games at six positions — second base, shortstop, third base and all three outfield spots, with the bulk of that work coming at second and third base.

Harrison is coming off a decent season split between the Nationals and A’s. The right-handed hitter posted a .279/.341/.400 line with eight home runs across 558 plate appearances, numbers that check in a touch above the league average by measure of wRC+. While he didn’t draw many walks or hit for much power, Harrison’s minuscule 13.4% strikeout rate enabled him to hit for a solid batting average. It’s worth noting, though, that the two-time All-Star’s production tailed off following the midseason trade that sent him to Oakland. After starting at a strong .294/.366/.434 clip across 359 plate appearances in Washington, Harrison hit only .254/.296/.341 over 199 trips to the dish in the Bay Area.

Some notes on other infield situations around the game:

  • Mariners first baseman Evan White has fully recovered from the season-ending left hip surgery he underwent in mid-July and has begun some baseball activities, writes Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. While a return to full health is an unequivocal positive, there’s still plenty of question about how productive White will be in 2022. After all, he’s already been supplanted on the depth chart by Ty France, who looks cemented as the regular first baseman following a .291/.368/.445 showing in 2021. White, who’s under contract through at least 2025 thanks to the pre-debut extension he signed in November 2019, owns only a .165/.235/.308 line across 306 career MLB plate appearances. The 25-year-old did win a Gold Glove award in 2020, but he’ll obviously need to be far more productive offensively to earn everyday playing time. Divish writes that some within the organization feel White could benefit from more time at Triple-A, and he does still have all three minor league option years remaining. He’s expected to see some outfield time in Spring Training to broaden his defensive versatility, although the bigger question figures to be his form at the plate once gameplay resumes.
  • As part of a reader mailbag, Alec Lewis of the Athletic suggests the Royals could attempt to find a taker for Carlos Santana coming out of the lockout. That’d assuredly require some creativity — including cash, taking back an undesirable contract as part of the trade, including a prospect of note, etc. — given how Santana performed in 2021. The generally reliable veteran hit only .214/.319/.342 over 659 plate appearances, easily the worst production of his career. The switch-hitter continued to avoid strikeouts (15.5%) and draw plenty of walks (13.1%), but his results on contact cratered. Santana is guaranteed $10.5MM in 2022, the final season of a two-year deal. Kansas City has first base prospect Nick Pratto on the doorstep of the majors after combining for a .265/.385/.602 line between the minors’ top two levels. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Pratto eventually starts to see playing time at Santana’s expense even if Kansas City doesn’t find a way to pull off a trade this winter.

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