Report: Nats to Ax Manny Acta

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According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com,
citing baseball sources, the Nationals are set to fire manager Manny
Acta. The ax could come as soon as an off-day on Monday, with the team
preparing to start a series against the Yankees. According to the
report, Acta would be replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman.

The 40-year-old Acta has compiled a 147-231 record in two and a half
seasons as manager and has led the club to a league-worst 15-43 mark
this season. It’s a real shame because Acta never had much talent to
work with and guided a far-worse team to a 73-89 record in 2007. But
after the firing of pitching coach Randy St. Claire earlier this month,
and the selection of Stephen Strasburg this week, the organization
seems desperate to carve out a new image. Acta is but a fall guy in a
pretty misguided narrative.

The thing I don’t understand is that if this story already leaked,
why not just show the man some respect and let him go today instead of
waiting until Monday? It’s akin to firing Willie Randolph after letting
him fly out and manage the first game of a West Coast trip. It’s not
like Riggleman doesn’t know the players. He’s the bench coach. Let him
go already.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.