Update: According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the Rays have won the hearing, so Upton will earn $3 million this season instead of $3.3 million.
11:00 am: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that a decision from a three-person panel of arbitrators regarding the Rays and outfielder B.J. Upton is expected sometime today. The two sides concluded a hearing which ran over 3 1/2 hours in St. Petersburg on Friday.
Upton requested $3.3 million and was offered $3 million when arbitration figures were exchanged in January. The 25-year-old outfielder never really found his footing last season after offseason shoulder surgery on his left shoulder, batting just .241/.313/.373 with 11 home runs, 55 RBI and 42 stolen bases. He’s arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.
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.