KC Royals: 3 players who need strong 2021 finishes

(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
KC Royals, Carlos Santana
(Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports) /

Does the year left on his contract secure Carlos Santana’s KC Royals future?

General Manager Dayton Moore looked smart and shrewd when he signed Carlos Santana to a two-year deal in December. The Royals desperately needed a proven first baseman with power, one who knew how to get on base and whose ability to hit from the left side could take some pressure of struggling lefty Nicky Lopez. Santana checked all those boxes.

And through May, the switch-hitting Santana was making Moore look good. His average was only .250, but his OBP was an excellent .382 and he’d clubbed 10 homers and driven in 34 runs.

Things have been bleak since then. Santana hit .220 in June, .211 in July, and is below Mendoza (.195) for August. His usually good OBP has turned bad—.297 in July, .263 this month. The hip flexor strain that’s bothered him the last few days can’t be blamed for a slump now almost three months old.

And the steps of Nick Pratto behind him are getting louder. Pratto hit his 13th home run for Omaha Friday night after joining the Storm Chasers in late July (he has 28 for the season after belting 15 in Double-A ball) and is slashing .273/.386/.608 overall.

As it stands now, Pratto is the Royals’ first baseman of the future. Santana has a year left on his contract, but the business of baseball and Pratto’s hot bat put that remaining season in jeopardy. If he doesn’t improve in September, don’t be surprised if Kansas City tries to move him this winter, or simply decides to eat that final contract year. Pratto may prove too much to resist.