Royals talk to Yankees about OF Gardner

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The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton reports that the Royals have inquired about Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner’s availability in light of the Curtis Granderson trade.
Given that he, like Granderson, is a left-handed-hitting center fielder, Gardner no longer seems like all that great of a fit with the Yankees. Switch-hitting Melky Cabrera might be more likely to stick around, though he has his own problems against left-handers. In fact, the Yankees might be best off trading both and targeting Randy Winn or Reed Johnson to serve as their fourth outfielder and replacement for Granderson against tough southpaws.
The Royals, though, should be aiming to do better than Gardner in their search for a starting center fielder. Gardner is strong defensively and he steals bases at a nice clip, but he strikes out too often for someone with so little power. He’ll have to hit .290-.300 in order to be a capable regular, and little so far suggests that it’s likely to happen.
As a free-talent pickup, Gardner would be a fine choice for the Royals. The Yankees, though, would demand something substantial in return, and given each GM’s history, Brian Cashman would get the better of Dayton Moore in any deal that gets done.

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.