Alex Gordon broke his right thumb on March 6 and manager Trey Hillman admitted yesterday that the Royals’ third baseman will begin the season on the disabled list.
Gordon initially received a recovery timetable of 3-4 weeks, which gave him some chance to be ready for Opening Day, but Hillman explained that “it’s not going to happen” because the Royals don’t want to “force it” and risk setting him back even further:
No. 1, it’s unfair to him to rush something like this. I’m sure he’s tough enough to endure the pain of it. That’s not the issue. It’s a matter of re-injuring the thumb if we try to get in the reps that he needs to get to break with the major-league team.
Alberto Callaspo will replace Gordon at third base and may also bat third in the Royals’ lineup after hitting .300/.356/.457 with 11 homers and 60 total extra-base hits in 155 games last season.
Prior to Gordon’s injury Callaspo was battling Chris Getz for the starting job at second base and the team wasn’t exactly thrilled with his defense there, so the broken thumb keeps the Royals from potentially benching their second-best hitter from a season ago.
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.