Still broke Dodgers gain little in Pierre deal

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The Dodgers did the disgruntled Juan Pierre a favor by shipping him off to the White Sox and giving him a chance to play regularly, but instead of getting the overpriced pitcher they were looking for in return, the team settled for two modest prospects in right-handers John Ely and Jon Link and ate some salary.
So, now the Dodgers have opened up one more need and saved just $3 million for 2010. That there’s also $5 million of relief coming in 2011 makes it a fine big-picture move.
It’s just that Pierre was probably worth more than $3 million to the 2010 team.
Since the Dodgers have other needs and limited funds, they’ll probably stay in house in finding a replacement for Pierre. Xavier Paul and Jason Repko are both on the 40-man roster and it’s possible that both will make the team unless some minor league veterans are brought in.
The left-handed-hitting Paul missed most of last season, but he hit .328/.378/.500 in 116 at-bats for Triple-A Albuquerque when healthy. While he is a below average center fielder, he’s still playable there. Repko is better suited to being a fifth outfielder. He’s injury-prone and he strikes out a lot, but he’s a legitimate center fielder with pretty good speed, and as a right-handed hitter, he’d complement Paul.
Neither is an ideal solution, but it’d still make more sense for the Dodgers to put the $3 million towards an upgrade at second base rather than target a Randy Winn or a Scott Podsednik. That way, they’d still have the option of going to Blake DeWitt at third and Casey Blake in an outfield corner in the event of a major injury to Manny Ramirez or Andre Ethier. DeWitt currently tops the depth chart at second base, but his glove plays much better at the hot corner and the price tags for Felipe Lopez and Kelly Johnson should prove pretty reasonable.

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.