Tigers, Damon not far from agreement

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A major league source has informed FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi that the Tigers and free agent outfielder Johnny Damon are not far from agreement on a contract.

Whether it’s a one-year, $7 million deal or a two-year, $14 million pact, it appears we’re close to the end of this saga.  The Rays and Braves are still technically in the running for Damon’s services, but it’s doubtful those clubs will want to engage in any sort of bidding war for a player that has gone unwanted for so long.

Damon, 36, batted .282/.365/.489 with 24 homers and 107 runs scored last year for the
Yankees, but he has drawn very little interest this offseason mostly due to his lacking defensive abilities.

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.