Valverde, Montero trade heated words through the media

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Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero took a few shots at Tigers reliever and former teammate Jose Valverde on Friday night for the closer’s wild antics on the mound.  It’s not the first time that an opponent has questioned Valverde’s animated jumps and fist pumps, and we usually don’t get a response from the intimidating ninth-inning man.  But Montero must have really hit a nerve.

Here’s what Valverde offered to the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro on Sunday morning:

“Tell Montero he’s a freaking rookie and I can do
whatever I want to. Tell him that. Put
it in the papers. If he wants to do something, tell him to come to my
locker and let me know. … I never liked Montero.  He’s a (bleeping) piece of (bleep). … Tell Montero he has two years (in the majors) and I have eight.”

At least he got the service time correct on the second try.  Montero fired back:

“He’s dumb. What do you want me to say? He’s smart? No. He’s just dumb.”

The Diamondbacks and Tigers will finish up a three-game interleague series on Monday then won’t meet again for the rest of the season .  So if this thing is going to come to fisticuffs, it will have to happen today.  Not that we’re rooting for a fight, or anything…

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.