"I need a nickname that makes people light up."

By Anthony Castrovince/MLB.com

santana3.jpgCarlos Santana is already 17 days and four homers into his Major League career. I’ve put this off too long. It’s time to give this kid an Official Nickname.

Those of you regularly reading the Indians Inbox (which better be all of you, or else something is askew here) know that the nickname “Smooth” was, at one time, bestowed upon Santana by several readers, only to be rejected by yours truly.

Not that I’m necessarily the final arbiter in these matters, by any means, but my job here is to give voice to the voiceless, to survey the landscape of voices in the wilderness and come to some reasonable conclusion on the pulse of the fanbase on any given topic. And really, what more important topic is there than the Carlos Santana nickname? None that I can think of.

Several nicknames for Santana are currently floating in the Internet stratosphere, but he can only have one, true nickname that will stick, and I’m taking it upon myself to be the one to select it. (Note: I was going to make this a poll, but when learning how to post a poll into this blog became overly complicated and time-consuming I decided to take a more dictatorial approach.)

Only two rules applied:

1. The nickname must tie in to that other Carlos Santana, somehow.
2. It can’t be “Smooth,” because that’s as overplayed and annoying a song as has ever been created.

So without any further ado, here are the results:

Second runner-up… “Shaman” (Submitted by John C., from Chicago.)

References Santana’s 2002 solo disc. John C. who claims to have been at one of Shin-Soo Choo’s first games with the Tribe and held up a sign that said “Big League Choo,” a fantastic nickname that happily stuck. Sadly, I don’t see the same fate for “Shaman.”

First runner-up… “Black Magic Backstop” (Submitted by Jim K. from Youngstown.)

Strong submission. References Santana’s most classic hit. Love the alliteration. Just don’t see it lasting over the long haul, especially when Santana starts playing the occasional game at first base.

And the winner is… “Supernatural” (Submitted by Scott H. from Mountain View, Calif., Paul T. from Cuyahoga Falls and Mike L. from Tallahassee, Fla.)

Hopefully this appeases those who submitted “Smooth,” as the hit single is included on this 1999 disc. You’ve got the alliterative element when you place this before Santana’s name, and you’ve got an apt description of this kid’s abilities. I love it, and I hope you love it, too.

Now on to less important matters.


  • Michael Brantley’s coming soon to a Progressive Field near you. “He’s close,” Manny Acta said. The last time Acta said that about a Triple-A guy, he was talking about Carlos Santana. Mr. Supernatural was here the next day. I’m not saying Brantley will be here tomorrow, necessarily, but he’s showing the Indians the things they wanted to see – namely, notching some extra-base hits, playing solid defense in center field and using his speed. Brantley has hit and scored in each of his last six games, batting .464 (13-for-28) with three doubles, a homer, eight RBIs and eight runs. In 21 June games, Brantley is batting .352 (31-for-88) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 13 RBIs and 14 runs scored while walking 10 times against just eight strikeouts. Consider that before June, Brantley had just six extra-base hits in about a month and a half of action with the Clippers. That lack of power was the biggest knock against him, and he’s addressing it.
  • The addition of Ezequiel Carrera in the Russell Branyan trade adds another body to the Columbus outfield and probably emphasizes the fact that Brantley will be here soon. Carrera will report to Columbus in a week to 10 days, once he’s healed from the hip pointer that currently has him on the disabled list.
  • Obviously, the Indians are looking into the possibility of trading Austin Kearns, which would open up everyday playing time for Brantley up here. Kearns hasn’t down much to help the showcase, as he’s batting .163 (8-for-49) with two RBIs in his last 13 games.
  • The other day, I told you shortstop Josh Rodriguez had been bumped to Double-A Akron to make room for the demoted Luis Valbuena at Triple-A Columbus. Well, that didn’t last long. Rodriguez is back in Columbus after just two games with the Aeros. He will share time with Valbuena at short, while also contributing at DH and in the outfield. Rodriguez is having a strong year, batting .317 with an .881 OPS in 21 games in Akron and .341 with a 1.031 OPS in 26 games in Columbus.
  • Kerry Wood needed that 1-2-3, three-punchout save Sunday against the Reds. And the Indians needed it, too, if they’re going to have any hope of trading Wood, who has not attracted any interest thus far. Wood could hardly be blamed if he wants to pitch himself out of here, given the circumstances. “We all want to win,” he said. “We all want to get to the World Series. I wanted it to happen in Cleveland, but it hasn’t worked out. My job is to go out and do the best I can to help us win the game.”
  • Hearing our old buddy Sal “The ‘Stache” Fasano (now that’s a nickname) is an early candidate to replace Cito Gaston, who is retiring as manager of the Jays at season’s end. Because CastroTurf was once billed as the “Official Web Site of Sal Fasano,” you better believe I’m pulling for Sal to get the gig. He’s currently managing the Jays’ Class A affiliate Lansing Lugnuts in the Midwest League.
  • Acta thinks “Big League” Choo is starting to benefit from batting in front of Santana. He said there was a time, not long ago, when opposing pitchers had no reason to give Choo anything to hit.
  • Before Choo did it against Bronson Arroyo, no Major Leaguer had posted a pair of multiple-homer games against the same pitcher in one season since San Diego’s Mike Cameron did it against the Cubs’ Rich Hill in 2007. Choo is the only player to do it in Interleague Play. (Elias Sports Bureau) 
  • Right-hander Shane Lindsay, designated when Jayson Nix was added to the roster, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Akron. Lindsay has a 2.08 ERA in four relief appearances for Akron in June.
  • Mitch Talbot’s eight wins lead all Major League rookies. His 2.39 ERA on the road is the third-best in the league.
  • The Indians went 5-13 in Interleague Play. They are now 118-129 all-time and 16-38 over the last three years. Certainly bucking a trend, as the AL earned the edge in the season series for the seventh straight year.
  • Hector Ambriz’s UCLA Bruins are battling South Carolina in the College World Series. “I think they’re going to do it,” Ambriz said. “It would be the first national championship in UCLA [baseball] history. We’ve got to win it for Wooden.”
  • Congrats to Terry Grahl for being named the Indians’ representative when the “All-Stars Among Us” are honored before the All-Star Game. Grahl is actually from Michigan, but she made up for it by founding Enchanted Makeovers, a non-profit that refurbishes shelters for women and children.



The Truth.

How about “Axeman”
They both carry an axe (axe = guitar)

How about the “Stone Flower” or “Stormy”?

AC, I say C-Cap, but I also like “Smooth” that is my favorite Carlos Santana song.

Please reconsider!!
The best nicknames don’t deify! He’s been here a couple of weeks for cripe’s sake!
Supernatural… come on! Is he a demi-god, or a human being!
Please AC
You don’t like Smooth… fine… how about Samba? Samba Pa Ti is on about 10 of Santana’s releases.
I know there is already a “king” in our town… but even for him L-Train is a much cooler nickname!
And Jordan is simply MJ… And in baseball, George Herman was simply Babe…
No deification please! Find something that has to do with who Carlos is as a PERSON… heck… best nickname on the team is Pronk.
Please AC don’t make me have to read Supernatural here again and again. I’m begging ya

The Axe Man, no contest

I have to agree with jjjapan. No, not the rambling reasons why Santana shouldn’t be given a nickname, but that Pronk’s is the best. And it’s the best because it came about organically.
I don’t think you can just GIVE someone a nickname. I think it has to come from somewhere. I mean, no one called Branyan “Russel the Muscle” before he started hitting a lot of home runs, yeah?
I’ll say this much, though: if there’s Pronkville at the Jake, they should also add Santania.

Watching the end of the game. Wood’s gotten 1 out so far.
Anyone else wonder why there wasn’t a pinch runner for Pronk in the 8th?
Here’s something to drive you crazy: go check out Wood’s situational stats. It is almost a given that if he lets someone on base, he’ll give up runs. I mean, his ERA with RISP/2 outs is 43.20! Bases empty, though, his ERA is 2.61, WHIP of 1.06, and BAA of .200.
And just as I type that, Wood gives up a hit with 2 outs. Oh, yeah, his numbers with runners on: 16.88 ERA, 2.63 WHIP, and .375 BAA.
You have to wonder if either his mechanics are messed up when pitching with a runner on or there’s a mental component going on here.

why would you move Santana out of the 3-hole if he’s holding his own?

I’d definitely go with “Smooth” over “Supernatural”. Supernatural is kind of derogatory really, for a baseball player. natural=good, supernatural=Barry Bonds … What will really piss me off is if Kerry Wood steals $20 million from the Indians, pitches terribly just long enough so they can extract zero value from him, and then turns it around just in time to help someone into the playoffs. He was throwing some stuff today that I’ve not seen from Wood this year … in terms of how Wood has tends to fall apart when he lets a runner on base, I’d guess it’s more mental than anything. I imagine there’s part of him that is expecting to fail at this point, just as I and I’m sure most fans say to ourselves, “Here we go again,” as soon as Wood lets someone on, Wood probably has something of the same feeling. Today I didn’t get that feeling though, because his slider looked so much better than in previous outings.

Yeah, ST, I think Wood has confidence now, which, as you said, is really convenient…for another team.
AM, who mentioned moving Santana out of the #3 spot? I can only see such a thing if they decide they want to get Brantley in the lead off spot and bat Cabrera after him (you know, in the theoretical future), but you have to figure they love the Choo/Santana combo and will keep it together.

It said Acta envisioned Choo batting 3rd and Santana 5th (after Hafner) in the news brief, or whatever those little daily articles are called. Which seems pretty stupid. You have your best OBP guy, Choo, hitting 2nd with the best pure hitter Santana hitting 3rd, so that’s good, should be quite a few opportunities for Santana to hit with Choo on and less than 2 out. It also splits up the lefties. I could see an argument for Choo 2nd, Hafner 3rd and Santana 4th with the current lineup, but if you add a theoretical healthy Sizemore and/or Cabrera in there, Hafner shouldn’t be anywhere near the top of the order. They really need to realize what Hafner is and is not. Acta talking about batting Hafner 4th is so misplaced. Hafner’s another OBP guy. He’s not someone who’s going to drive in a lot of runs anymore. But he can get on base a lot when he’s going well … Santana should not be hitting below 4th in the order under any foreseeable circumstance

Yeah, I would imagine the most drastic change, like I said, would be dropping them each down a spot to make room for Brantley at the top, Cabrera at #2, and so on. What’s funny about that is you’ve then got a healthy Grady batting, what, fifth?
If Westbrook can have two more outings in a row like tonight, he’ll go for sure.
Wood needs about four more outing like this, I would think.

Nicknames should be easily understandable. When it comes to Carlos Santana, every single person on the planet knows the song Smooth thanks to the fact that it played every 15 minutes on the radio for a good year-and-a-half. Not everyone knows the name of the album it came from. How many times have you had to explain “Pronk” to someone? Say Smooth (or Big Smooth as I choose to say it) and people will automatically understand. Just because it’s obvious does not make it bad. Also, I still contend that it makes a great nickname out of a terrible song.

I think AC’s focusing on the obvious too much. I vote we call him Santana Clause.

I would have to agree with ST about Hafner. He does not belong in the 4-hole. The Pronk of 2004-2006 (maybe even 3007) would be in that spot but not the shell of his former self as he is now.

In theory, yes we could see Sanatana move if/when everyone is healthy in 2011 but that’s all hopes, dreams, and purely speculative.

Brantley (CF), Cabrera (SS), Choo (RF), Sizemore (LF), Santana (C), Hafner (DH), LaPorta (1B), Marte (3B), Donald (2B). We don’t have a guy that will bang out 35+ HRs in a season so perhaps ManAct is the right guy for the future. That squeeze play was nice to see.

No, No, No, No, Carlos hit number 3 in Akron, he hit number 3 in Columbus, and he has driven in 14 runs in 14 games. Carlos is the most exciting hitter on this team, even more exciting than Choo. He belong in that 3 spot, period.

yeah, I would agree with cantonguy. Even if Cabrera and Brantley return and play to potential, they really shouldn’t both be hitting above Santana and Choo, who are almost certainly the Indians 2 best hitters. I really think Choo is ideal as a number 2 hitter, he gets on base a lot, can steal a base, drives the ball inconsistently. (I keep waiting for Choo to have a year where he DOES drive the ball consistently, but I think now Choo is what he is, he’ll have a good OBP, inconsistent power, overall a decent player, fairly comparable to Bobby Abreu) The whole baseball adage of the number 2 hitter being a guy who will bunt, do that kind of stuff is garbage, number 2 should be one of your best hitters, someone who can get on base for the guys who hit behind him and who also has the ability to drive in the lead off hitter. I’d go Cabrera, Choo, Santana, Sizemore, in the crazy future of next year where Cabrera and Sizemore are healthy. Most importantly, that eliminates the lefty,lefty, lefty. Brantley would be a bottom of the order player. If Brantley shows he can hit leadoff, then I’d bump Cabrera down to like 6 or 7. He’s a good hitter for a shortstop, but ultimately he’s nothing that great … When you start thinking about future Indians lineups, you realize how much the Indians need Laporta to pan out and Sizemore to come back. Without those things, talk of future contention is pointless. Cabrera, Choo, Santana, Sizemore, Laporta, Hafner, Cabrera, Goedert, Donald, Brantley could be a legitimate major league quality lineup (exchange Chisenhall for Goedert and Kipnis for Donald, and even more so), but it all depends on Sizemore and Laporta. Remove those guys, and there are major holes that can’t be filled internally, there is no one else who can occupy those 4-5 spots. I’d still be tempted to say make a push for Jayson Werth with the extra Westbrook/Wood cash, can pay him $17 million a year and keep the payroll about the same as it is this year. To make a major move like that, it would require some type of second half push, some bullpen stability, return of Cabrera to form, life from Laporta, a .500 second half, something to give hope for next year and 2011. (Even if that does happen, of course, I know they would never do it, because they prefer in their misguided way to slowly dole out $15-20 million to non-impact players and watch their revenue plummet when no one attends games to watch their crappy team play) But say in theory, they do show life in the second half in those crucial areas: bullpen, Laporta and Cabrera, with Carmona continuing to pitch well and Santana continuing to hit well. I would offer Werth something along the lines of 3 years $50 million with a mutual 4th year option worth another $17 million or so, not sure if that would be enough to get him to go to Cleveland but whatever, make an offer, because having right handed Werth batting cleanup would be awesome. Cabrera, Choo, Santana, Werth, Sizemore, Laporta, Hafner, Goedert/Chisenhall, Donald/Kipnis. No further position player acquisitions needed, everyone under control through ’12, a quite manageable payroll, enough money even to re-sign Westbrook

It doesn’t hurt to make an offer…LOL I will disagree with your take on Cabrera though Savage. Cabrera, in my opinion is one of the leaders on the team. When he was playing SS, the Indians were 9-13, not great but certainly much better than what we have done since then. He is a good hitter, he can do everything, bunt, move runners over, hit with runners on base, and even add a bit of a pop, plus he has stability at that position. He is one of the leaders here, and I will be curious to see what he does in the 2nd half, as you say if this team could play .500 in the 2nd half, it might add an ounce of excitement….an ounce.

I, also, could not disagree more. Cabrera may not have the power to be a legitimately great hitter, but there is nobody I’d rather have batting on my team when it counts than Asdrubal Cabrera. He’s never appeared to be fazed by anything. When he hits .300, he’s 300 for every 1000, 30 for every 100 and 3 for every 10. He’ll hit .300 up by 3 in the ninth and down by 1 in the 11th. I love that consistency – especially on a team as streaky as this one.

Cabrera had a .689 OPS when he was injured. A .322 OBP. Those are bad numbers, even for a shortstop. (The Indians were actually 15-21 when he was injured, but that had more to do with the pitching being very good for the first month and a half than anything Cabrera was doing) And I never said I didn’t like Cabrera, I do, but he doesn’t really get on base enough or have the speed you’d like to see from a leadoff hitter, and if they have a healthy, productive Sizemore and Brantley to hit leadoff, there are much better options than Cabrera to hit second or third, and he obviously wouldn’t hit cleanup. So, ideally, he could give them some needed pop in the bottom half of the lineup, setting the table for some other hopefully decent hitters like Chisenhall and Kipnis. Realistically, for him to move down in the lineup Brantley would need to be holding his own, Sizemore would need to be back healthy and productive, and Choo and Santana would have to keep doing what they’re doing, and those things are unlikely to happen. But if it did happen, it would be kind of silly to have Cabrera hitting above Choo, Sizemore and Santana, they can do everything with the bat that Cabrera can and then some … As far as Cabrera being consistent, I seem to remember him going all Valbuena on us his sophomore year, and last year he hit .262 in July, .370 in August, and .266 in September. This year, when he went down he was hitting .261 in May and had amazingly drawn 0 walks (in 11 games), he had a .261 OBP. I still like him, but there are questions about everyone in the lineup and Cabrera’s no exception. Was last year a career year, or something we can expect year in and year out? His performance this year up to the time he was injured was unfortunately pointing more towards the former. It will be interesting to see what he does when he comes back.

I kind of like ST’s idea of putting Cabrera at leadoff and Brantley further down in the order. I realize we all like speed at the top — and in a perfect world he’ll be a great lead off guy — but realistically he’s probably a ways a way.
I don’t see the Tribe signing any big names in the off season, to be honest. I think all their money is going to go into savings for 2012, but I don’t know what the free agent market is going to be like then — but I also don’t really know what the Tribe will need by then, either.
Tomlin and Goedart with good outings last night. Should be interesting to see what happens with them.

The nickname needs to be something short and sweet. One syllable is preferred. I live in Philly and they call catcher Carlos Ruiz ‘Chooch’. Sounds great when you’re yelling “C’mon Chooch” when he’s at the dish. You can’t yell “Let’s Go Supernatural”. Too long. That’s why ‘Axe’ is perfect. Easily yelled. Ties in with the guitar player and sounds sick. Think of it from a fan’s perspective. Conciseness is key, which I clearly forgot while rambling on in this post.

I just wanted to say that my officially submitted vote was actually “The Supernatural”, a dual tie-in with both the actual Carlos Santana and the fictional Roy Hobbs. I hope that helps some people get over it.

-Paul T. from Cuyahoga Falls

wasn’t Tomlin arrested along with Beau Mills and some other yahoo for beating up a regular in Akron? Yeah, he’s done in Cleveland.

It WAS Akron. I mean, I have friends who live in Akron and all, but, you know…Akron.
Besides, the if the Tribe kept Belle all that time, I doubt they’ll dump Tomlin.

Did you just compare Tomlin to Albert Belle? Albert could hit the ball a long, long way. That was pretty good reason to forgive his sins … I doubt Tomlin would do much in the majors. He doesn’t throw hard and isn’t supposed to really have any great secondary pitches. He’s having a good year ERA-wise, as he always has, but his strikeout rate is down and his walk rate is up on the jump to AAA. He’s only giving up .75 hits per innings though. Do you think a right handed pitcher who throws 88-91 mph is going to give up anything close to .75 hits per inning in the majors?

I’m saying a fan base that looked the other way on Albert Belle isn’t going to write a guy off because he got into a fight in Akron.

While I only saw the first 3 innings and was unable to listen to the game I am happy for Laffey given the events of the past week. From the numbers it doesn’t look as if he was terribly efficient (6+ IP, 97 pitches and only 9 of 24 first pitch strikes) but it sounds as if he did what he had to do when needed. If you saw/listened to the game then tell me if I’m wrong. But it is something for him to build upon. Needless to say, a W is a W no matter how you slice it.

If we were competitive at all this year then Frank Hermann would go done as our team savior. He’s having a Raffy Perez 2007 type of effect on this team. I never would have guessed that he was undrafted. Say what you will about the flashiness of mid-90s power arms and I will show you Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, or Doug Jones.

Man, I am sick and tired of Jhonny Peralta.

One quick question…I know Jamey Wright was released at the beginning of June, as well was Mark Grudzlianek. jamey is still shown as sih=gne, however, Mark is shown as released. Does that mean the Tribe is paying Jamey’s salary for the rest of the year since nobody picked him up?…and does that mean Mark is not being paid? If that is the case why not use Jamey at least to mentor some of the young guys…and try and get some of your moneys’ worth.


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