Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana comes back at Jake Arrieta over clubhouse culture comments

Carlos Santana comes back at Jake Arrieta over clubhouse culture comments

For the second time this year, Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta are involved in a bit of a verbal skirmish about clubhouse chemistry.

Santana responded via Twitter on Thursday night to Arrieta's recent comments to the Philadelphia Inquirer

"Well, the culture was better here this year without him. I can tell you that," Arrieta told the Inquirer last weekend. "... We had better guys in the clubhouse. That's it. A lot more veteran presence."

Santana followed up with this tweet:

The initial tiff was reported on earlier this year. It took place late last season when Santana was upset with the amount of video game playing in the clubhouse and smashed a TV. 

"There is some untruth to the story, some things that were not portrayed correctly," Arrieta said in March of the ESPN piece quoting Santana. "I don't believe that guys were playing video games during the game. That's something that I would not allow and a majority of the guys on the team would not allow.

"There was a lot of video-game playing and I was a part of it, too, but well in advance of the game — and that was something that we bonded over. It brought us close together and it was something we had in common. It was fun. But as far as during the game, and I've talked to a bunch of our guys, I do not believe that was taking place."

Santana was traded by the Phillies along with J.P. Crawford to the Mariners last December for Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio and James Pazos. The Mariners traded Santana to the Indians, his original team, 10 days later. Santana went on to have the best season of his career, making his first All-Star team and setting career-highs in batting average (.281), on-base percentage (.397), slugging percentage (.515), home runs (34), RBI (93) and runs scored (110).

Arrieta's future is unclear. Can he come back from an elbow cleanup and be a serviceable No. 4 starter for the 2020 Phillies? He is due the final $20 million of his three-year, $75 million contract with the Phillies next season. Arrieta struggled with the injury, going 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 24 starts.

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Jake Arrieta wasn't shy about throwing shade at Carlos Santana

Jake Arrieta wasn't shy about throwing shade at Carlos Santana

The exact group of guys that suited up for the 2019 Phillies will never be the same. Many of the core will return, obviously, but the pieces around them will be different. That's one of the unique things about professional sports, clubhouses and locker rooms have different dynamics every season.

And not all veterans are created equally.

By most accounts, the Phillies clubhouse had a more positive vibe in 2019 than the season prior. If you ask starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, you can point to the absence of first baseman Carlos Santana as being a factor in that regard.

A piece in the Inquirer this week showed Arrieta was not afraid to share his thoughts about Santana moving on to Cleveland.

“Well, the culture was better here this year without him,” Arrieta said. “I can tell you that.”

How so?

“Why it was better without Santana? We had better guys in the clubhouse,” Arrieta said. “That’s it. A lot more veteran presence.”

Santana famously smashed a television in the clubhouse last season because teammates were allegedly playing video games while a baseball game was being played. Arrieta is known as one of the guys who plays Fortnite in the clubhouse. Read into that whatever you like.

But the veteran presence line doesn't make total sense. Santana is by all definitions a "veteran." He's just not a veteran that Arrieta likes in his clubhouse.

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Carlos Santana’s return to Cleveland has been a smashing success

Carlos Santana’s return to Cleveland has been a smashing success

CLEVELAND — Carlos Santana’s last act in Philadelphia was to smash up a couple of big-screen televisions.

Back in his comfort zone of Cleveland, he is simply smashing baseballs.

“Last year was hard because it was difficult for me to play with a new team, new friends, and a new manager,” he said on Monday, the eve of his first All-Star Game. “I played with Cleveland for a long time and it was tough for me. It was a little bit to figure out and I was affected. But I’m happy to come back.”

The Phillies signed Santana to a three-year, $60 million contract before the 2018 season. He hit just .229 with 24 homers, 86 RBIs and a .766 OPS.

The Phils traded him to Seattle in the offseason to open first base for Rhys Hoskins. The Mariners subsequently peddled him to Cleveland, where he played his first eight seasons.

Back with the Indians, Santana is on his way to a career year at age 33. He is hitting .297 with 19 homers, 52 RBIs and a .958 OPS.

“Everyone knows I had power hitting,” he said. “I changed a couple things in the offseason. That helped me a lot. I’m hitting the ball up the middle.”

Santana said he got pull-happy in Philadelphia.

“The Philly stadium is small,” he said. “Right field is like 320 (feet). I wanted to hit to the right side. I wanted to pull. Now, I’m back to trying to hit the ball up the middle.”

Though he struggled in some areas, Santana played in all but one game for the Phillies last season. Even down the stretch, when some players checked out, he posted every night, often out of position at third base. 

Santana did not see the same dedication from some of his teammates and the news came out in March that he ended his stay in Philadelphia by smashing a couple of TVs in a backroom of the clubhouse. He was upset that some players were spending too much time in there playing video games while he and the other eight guys on the field were trying to win a ballgame, often unsuccessfully in September.

“It’s something that happened,” Santana said. “We were fighting with Atlanta and we had lost eight-straight games and I was a little frustrated with that. Everyone knows that that’s not my personality.”

Santana smashed the TVs on the penultimate day of the season. Why didn’t he express his frustration sooner? 

“I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t control it.

“I don’t want to talk about that because it’s in the past. I want to stay with my teammates and I’m so happy here in Cleveland. It’s in the past and I don’t want to talk too much.

“I like Philly. It was a great season. The fans knew baseball. Everything was positive.”

Well, not everything. 

But all is good now for Carlos Santana.

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