Despite Howry, D'Backs still keeping tabs on Valverde

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The Diamondbacks have reportedly
come to terms with veteran reliever Bob Howry, but it won’t preclude
them from continuing to monitor free agent right-hander Jose Valverde,
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports.



Valverde, 30, was originally signed
by the Diamondbacks in 1997 and posted a 3.29 ERA over five big league
seasons in the desert before being traded to the Astros in December of
2007. He tallied a 2.93 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 69 saves in Houston, but so
far the market for the Type A free agent has been slow to develop.

Contenders have likely balked at the price tag, but because the
Diamondbacks finished at 70-92 last season, their first-round pick in
the 2010 First-Year Player Draft is protected. They would have to
surrender a second-round pick should they sign Valverde.



While the possible addition of Valverde would give the Diamondbacks the
makings of lock-down bullpen, with Chad Qualls as the incumbent for ninth-inning duties, a reunion would only be possible on Arizona’s terms. Frankly,
they’d be better off allocating the salary towards the recently
non-tendered Kelly Johnson. They’ll be inching close to their budgetary
limits should he agree to the one-year, $2 million offer reportedly on
the table.

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.