The last time Carlos Santana played third base with any regularity he was in the low minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Things did not go well.

The Indians, however, have talked to Santana about playing third this winter in the Dominican Republic. He’s already been taking ground balls there as part of his off-season workout program.

Manager Terry Francona, when asked about Santana playing third and what it means in regard to next season, said, “You’re getting way ahead of us.”

Santana has been the Indians primary catcher since making his big league debut in 2010. Last season he lost his job to Yan Gomes in August and spent the rest of the year mostly at first base and DH.

How Santana performs at third this winter will probably determine the Indians next step. Presently, third base is being manned by the platoon of Lonnie Chisenhall and Mike Aviles. The Indians have been waiting for Chisenhall to take the job for two years, but injuries and inconsistent play have stopped him.

With Gomes taking over at catcher, and Nick Swisher a regular at first, the switch-hitting Santana could become the full-time DH, but at 27 that’s not going to do much to help his value.

If Santana shows he can play third base on a regular basis, the Indians could add another hitter at DH and improve the offense. Santana has been a consistent run producer for the Indians, averaging 22 homers and 76 RBI over the last three seasons, while never having an OPS lower than .785.

Last season, Santana hit .268 (145-for-541) with 39 doubles, 20 homers, 74 RBI and a .832 OPS. He finished second in the AL with 93 walks.