I agree with Craig that signing Chan Ho Park for just $1.2 million is a very good deal for the Yankees. He has a 3.29 ERA and 101/44 K/BB ratio in 120 innings as a reliever over the past two seasons and at the very least can be a good second-tier setup man behind either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.
Park was available at such a discount because earlier this offseason he turned down a one-year deal worth $3.25 million to re-sign with the Phillies, who then used that money on Danys Baez instead. Once returning to Philadelphia was no longer an option Park was apparently left to choose between lesser offers from the Cubs and Nationals, until his asking price dropped enough that the Yankees swooped in. Here’s Park to explain his decision:
I was deliberating on the Cubs and the Yankees, but their history and championship contention resulted in me picking the Yankees. Until last night, I was leaning toward the Cubs. I wanted to play for a champion-caliber team this year again. I am not certain how much longer I will play baseball, but it will be huge experience and memory to play with the Yankees.
Park has earned approximately $85 million in salary during his 16-season career, so the Nationals probably never had a chance.
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.