Dodgers to Ron Belliard: be slim, or be gone

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About that Ron Belliard deal?Yes, it’s for $825,000, and yes, the Dodgers are likely counting on Belliard to win the second base job, but according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times, it’s not guaranteed.  But it can be:  All Belliard has to do is to weigh in at 209 or less at some point during spring training.

Why 209? Because that’s what the Dodgers say he weighed at the end of last year when he was really effective.  If that’s what he weighed a mere three months ago, it seems fair enough to me that he be expected to get there sometime within the next two months.

What would be unfair? Expecting him to weigh 180, which is what Baseball-Reference, the Nats’ media guide from last year and presumably his driver’s license and all of his baseball cards say.  I’m guessing he hasn’t been within donut-sniffing distance of 180 since Clinton’s first term.

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.