GM says slumping Drew Stubbs won't be demoted

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Drew Stubbs went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts yesterday to drop his batting average to .174, but general manager Walt Jocketty said today that the 25-year-old center fielder is in no danger of being sent back to the minors:

He needs to works it out on the major league level. You don’t want him to lose confidence. He does so many other things so well. He needs to be a more selective and patient at the plate.

I agree with Jocketty on all fronts. Stubbs isn’t a great prospect, but because the Reds are unlikely to be much better than .500 this season finding out how he and other young players fit into the team’s long-term plans is key. He’s also 25 already, so another stint at Triple-A doesn’t figure to do much good given that he played 126 games there during the previous two seasons.
Jocketty is also right that Stubbs’ approach at the plate likely needs to change for him to have long-term success. He has 79 strikeouts in 301 plate appearances as a big leaguer after whiffing 141 times per 600 plate appearances in the minors. Obviously many sluggers can get away with that many strikeouts, but Stubbs has hit just 38 homers in 1,860 pro at-bats and whatever value he ultimately has will come primarily from defense, speed, and (hopefully) getting on base.

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.