Guillen might be done, so Tigers start shopping

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When the Tigers placed Carlos Guillen on the disabled list last month
with a sore right shoulder manager Jim Leyland expected a quick return,
saying: “Two weeks should do it.”

Three weeks later Guillen admitted that he’d yet to even test the
injured shoulder, the following week he underwent an MRI exam that
reportedly revealed no structural damage, and two weeks after that
Leyland explained that it was “going to be a while” before he was back
in the lineup.

And now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com–and formerly the Tigers beat writer for the Detroit Free Pressreports
that “Guillen’s season will be in jeopardy if his right shoulder
doesn’t improve soon.” Agent Peter Greenberg told Morosi that Guillen
will likely opt for season-ending surgery if it doesn’t look like he’s
close to returning by some time next month and may need to go under the
knife during the offseason either way.

“He’s trying to do everything he can to avoid surgery, especially
since it’s his throwing shoulder,” Greenberg said. In the second year
of a four-year, $48 million contract extension, Guillen is making $12
million this season and is owed another $13 million for each of the
next two seasons.

When healthy Guillen has been one of the more underrated hitters in
baseball, batting .304/.373/.484 in six seasons with Detroit after a
modest start to his career in Seattle. Of course, he’s also bounced all
over the diamond defensively while missing one-fourth of the Tigers’
games. Still, Detroit is finding it difficult to replace his bat, as
Tigers left fielders rank second-to-last in the league with a .681 OPS.

By making a decision on surgery by the middle of next month Guillen
would give the Tigers enough time to pursue a replacement bat prior to
the July 31 trading deadline and owner Mike Ilitch said yesterday
that he’s willing to increase the team’s payroll if necessary. In other
words, Guillen or not don’t count on seeing Josh Anderson and Ryan
Raburn patrolling left field down the stretch.

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.