Kurt Suzuki, who has been on the disabled list since April 24 with a strained rib cage, is expected to return to the A’s starting lineup on Wednesday, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Suzuki is a major part of the A’s offense and should provide a nice emotional boost for the 16-15 club upon his return. Before rejoining his Oakland teammates, Kurt will likely head to Single-A Stockton or another minor league affiliate to work on his timing at the plate and reacquaint himself with crouching for nine full innings. That should happen on Monday and Tuesday.
The 26-year-old catcher is a .271/.330/.403 hitter through his first three major league seasons. He had an 852 OPS, four home runs and 11 RBI in 59 at-bats this year before the injury.
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.