Veteran manager Dusty Baker often gets blamed, fairly or unfairly, for hurting the careers of pitchers like Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano and Mark Prior with years of strenuous pitch counts and uneven days of rest.
Whether Baker is guilty or not, his handling of Homer Bailey this evening can only be described as questionable. The 23-year-old Bailey was solid in his 2010 debut last week, racking up five strikeouts over five innings against the Cubs, but was forced to throw 115 pitches tonight in a loss to the Marlins — only his second start of the year. That’s quite a load for a young pitcher that has been groomed to throw only 90-100 pitches per outing and an indictment on Baker as a manager.
Bailey had a 2.41 ERA in 37 1/3 innings last season in the month of September and was dominant in his only October start. The Reds have high hopes for him this year and for many years to come. But should they, considering the reputation of the man that is leading the squad?
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.