Why Domingo Santana’s defense is most concerning for the Mariners

May 2, 2019, 3:32 PM

Mariners OF Domingo Santana has struggled in his transition to left field from right. (AP)...

Mariners OF Domingo Santana has struggled in his transition to left field from right. (AP)


Defense has been an especially prevalent complaint about the Seattle Mariners this season, and they have three players ranked in the bottom seven in the league in defensive WAR: left fielder Domingo Santana, center fielder Mallex Smith and shortstop Tim Beckham.

Servais: Mariners 3B Kyle Seager close to rehab assignment in minors

Shannon Drayer, Mariners insider for 710 ESPN Seattle, talked to John Clayton on Thursday and explained that while the defensive issues of Smith and Beckham aren’t exactly welcome, Santana’s performance in the field is what is most alarming.

“It’s a problem and it’s one that they’ve got to evaluate not just for now but for the future,” Drayer said about the defense of Santana, whose minus-10.1 defensive WAR (per Fangraphs) ranks 3.4 points lower than second-worst player in the MLB. “When you look at what he has done defensively, there’s no two ways about it – by WAR and by defensive runs saved, he right now is the worst defensive player in baseball.”

Drayer explained that while Smith is second-to-last with a minus-6.7 defensive WAR and Beckham is seventh-worst at minus-3.8, Smith’s past and Beckham’s future make their defense easier to digest.

“It’s a little bit scary when you look at that list, but you look at them a little bit differently. Mallex has a track record of being a decent defender, so you look at what he is right now and you say that’s fixable. You look at the metrics and you know he’s a very good athlete. You look at Tim Beckham, and right now he is essentially a placeholder because J.P. Crawford is the future shortstop of this team.”

As for Santana, the Mariners are trying to determine if he has the ability to play the outfield going forward or if he is bound to be a designated hitter for the rest of his career. And if that future is in Seattle, it will most likely have to come in left field due to All-Star Mitch Haniger having established himself in right and Daniel Vogelbach appearing to be the front-runner at DH.

Left field, however, has proven to be a difficult transition for Santana, who has played 292 of his 352 career MLB games in right.

“You brought him in to be a piece of this team hopefully for the future,” Drayer said. “When you look at the defensive numbers right now, unless there is something that drastically changes, you’re looking more at most likely a potential DH rather than an outfielder.”

You can hear Drayer’s full segment breaking down the Mariners in the player embedded in this post, or you can download the podcast at this link.

Félix Hernández is pitching well, and there’s a sign it can continue

The John Clayton Memorial Fund

Benefitting the Multiple Sclerosis Society

The Professor's Notes

John Clayton hosted a daily video breaking down the NFL

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Partly Sunny
High 87° | Low 59°
No game today.

Seattle Mariners

MLB uniforms all-star game...

Ronald Blum

MLB Notebook: Team uniforms for All-Star Game to be considered

MLB will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game, commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday.

2 hours ago

Seattle Mariners trade deadline Jerry Dipoto Scott Servais...

Brent Stecker

Mariners’ Jerry Dipoto explains the trouble with this MLB trade deadline

Seattle Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto shared an update ahead of the July 30 MLB trade deadline when he joined Brock and Salk.

4 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Julio Rodriguez setting sun Baltimore Orioles 2024...

Cameron Van Til

ARod’s advice for Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez amid down year

MLB legend Alex Rodriguez shared the advice he would give Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez on being a young star in Seattle.

5 hours ago

MLB All-Star Game...

The Associated Press

Duran’s 2-run HR leads AL past NL 5-3 in MLB All-Star Game

Boston's Jarren Duran hit a tie-breaking two-run home run in the fifth inning of the AL's 5-3 win in the MLB All-Star Game.

18 hours ago

Seattle Mariners draft Jurrangelo Cijntje MLB...

Zac Hereth

Mariners Draft: Three things to know

A look at three interesting things Seattle Mariners director of amateur scouting Scott Hunter said after the MLB Draft.

18 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Andrés Muñoz MLB Olympics All-Star Game...

Ronald Blum

MLB commissioner open to major leaguers in 2028 LA Olympics

Major League Baseball players participating in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics remains a possibility, though many obstacles remain.

20 hours ago

Why Domingo Santana’s defense is most concerning for the Mariners