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Mike Napoli, Carlos Santana and Yan Gomes at first base?--EHC Podcast 32

  Mike Napoli--Jim Davis/Boston Globe staff  
The Cleveland Indians were fairly quiet this hot stove season thusfar, but made a splash in December when they signed free agent first baseman/outfielder Mike Napoli to a one-year deal. It's believed that Napoli will become the Tribe's starting first baseman in 2016, replacing incumbent, Carlos Santana.

And there's the conundrum.

Carlos Santana doesn't want to be the full-time DH. He expressed this prior to 2014, when Yan Gomes had supplanted him as the starting catcher. Santana went so far as to offer up his services as the Indians' new third baseman, and spent winter ball and spring training trying to perfect his new craft. He earned the job, but found third base in the big leagues wasn't something you could pick up in a few months.

With Nick Swisher floundering and injury-prone at first, Santana eventually took over his job, and finished 2014 with a flourish, seemingly cementing his job as the Indians' new first baseman.

Enter 2015.

Santana was clearly a different defender at first base, and while his offense remained quirky, there was a fairly subtle decrease in production, both defensively, and offensively. Santana announced after the season that he had been battling back problems all-year, which seemed to fit the mold of what might have been the issue.

Whatever the case, the Indians went out and made a move to help bolster first base and DH.

EHC's Jim Pete and Mike Hattery discuss the pluses and minuses of the Mike Napoli-signing, as well as what might happen to Carlos Santana. Is Napoli in full-bore regression at the age of 34, or can his 2015 struggles be totally attributed to random injuries? Will Carlos Santana be okay with becoming the team's full-time DH, with a few starts, here-and-there, at first base? Will the Indians add Yan Gomes to the fray at first, to help protect him behind the plate, especially with the able-bodied Roberto Perez behind him?

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