As evidenced by the deconstruction of the limping and wounded New York Yankees last night, the Tampa Bay Rays have taken their place as the new beasts of the AL East. And, even though the delivery was muddled and aggravating, Chris Berman and Rick Sutcliffe’s multiple mentions of the Rays’ arrival as the new class of baseball and their all-around excellence last night were well-taken.
Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan has a much more lucid take on the same subject this morning, and Joe Maddon had something interesting to say about the well-rounded nature of his Rays’ squad:
“It’s more of the liberal arts form of playing baseball,” Maddon said.
“It’s not just about power or just about speed. You really want to be
able to do all those different things. I want us to be able to play
every component of the game well. That’s what we preach.”
Liberal arts baseball. As a liberal arts undergard I like it! Beats those “Renaissance man” cliches anyway. It’s something all of us liberal arts people can all be proud of.
That is, at least until the Rays wake up one day, realize that they have no marketable skills and apply to law school.
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.