How times change: Andre Ethier walked to get to Manny

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Manny Ramirez double.jpgI missed this in the recaps, but file this under “wow, that wouldn’t have happened a year or two ago.”

In the seventh inning of the Dodgers-Diamondbacks game, A.J. Hinch decided to
intentionally walk Andre Ethier with two men on in order to load the bases for Manny Ramirez. And it wasn’t like they were setting up the double play. There were two outs. Ramirez, of course, promptly hit a three-run double off the wall, turning a one-run game into a four-run game, and essentially icing it for L.A.  And, as Vin Scully notes in the video, Manny’s shot would have been a grand slam in just about any other park.

I know Andre Ethier leads the N.L. in everything at the moment, but I think we’ve reached a point where we’ve discounted Manny Ramirez a bit too much.  He’s at .393/.507/.589 on the year.

L.A. has a lot of problems, but they’re only 4.5 out.  If 2010 Manny does a reasonable approximation of 2008 Manny, the Dodgers may jump back into this thing yet.

(thanks to Mike Bogen for the heads up on the IBB)

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.