GM: Brewers unlikely to trade Fielder or Braun for pitching

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Asked yesterday whether the Brewers will look to trade Prince Fielder or Ryan Braun for pitching help, general manager Doug Melvin said: “I don’t see that happening.”
Milwaukee finished next-to-last in the NL with a 4.87 ERA, including a league-worst 5.37 mark from the rotation that lost CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets from 2008, but Melvin smartly seems to realize that trading MVP-caliber hitters isn’t the solution for those problems, especially when Fielder is under team control through 2011 and Braun is signed through 2015.

In fantasy baseball, you can dream about what you could get back for Prince or Ryan Braun. In reality, there’s not too many teams that can give up the package that we would really want that would guarantee you to be competitive.

Melvin also added that keeping both Alcides Escobar and J.J. Hardy next season “would be very difficult,” which makes it pretty obvious that the Brewers will be shopping Hardy for pitching help this offseason. Hardy had a very disappointing year, losing his starting job to Escobar down the stretch, but he’s still a 26-year-old shortstop with a good glove and .267/.325/.441 hitting line over the past three seasons. Milwaukee should be able to get at least a solid mid-rotation starter for Hardy.

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.