Report: Guzman clears waivers; next stop Boston?

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Buster Olney of ESPN reports that Cristian Guzman has cleared waivers, meaning that no teams were willing to risk being left holding a contract that pays him $8 million next season. However, the Nationals are now free to explore trades for Guzman and there should be a decent market assuming that they’re interested in eating some of his remaining salary.
Guzman doesn’t have much power and has drawn a grand total of 12 walks in 407 plate appearances, so he has one of the emptiest .317 batting averages that you’ll ever see. On the other hand, even an empty .317 is plenty valuable from a shortstop with a decent glove, and Guzman has batted .328, .316, and .317 in the past three seasons for a combined .318/.348/.443 line in 277 games. By comparison, the average MLB shortstop has hit .268/.325/.392, which is about 10 percent worse.
Boston is rumored to be interested in Guzman, which makes plenty of sense given that Red Sox shortstops are third-worst in the AL with a .622 OPS and would-be-starter Jed Lowrie is back on the disabled list with more wrist problems. Nick Green is manning the position for now, but he’s a career .240/.308/.353 hitter and current backup Chris Woodward has a .242/.298/.370 lifetime mark.

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.