When Twins first baseman Justin Morneau bowed out of next week’s All-Star game due to a mild concussion, many Red Sox fans were hoping that Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis would be named as his replacement.
After all, Youk finished a close second on MLB’s “Final Vote” ballot to Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher and is plenty deserving of an All-Star nod given the fact that his 987 OPS ranks fifth-best among all major leaguers and his 18 homers and 57 RBI also stand near the top of the league.
Red Sox Nation is up in arms tonight, as White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was selected to take Morneau’s spot instead. This according to an MLB.com press release.
Konerko is having a heck of a season, with a .299/.382/.560 batting line, 20 home runs and 63 RBI through 291 at-bats. He has been a big part of the White Sox’s resurgence in the American League Central and there’s little doubt that he is also deserving of an All-Star nod.
But the fact is Youkilis has been better, and his versatility on the infield might have proven helpful in the later innings of Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic. Did Yanks skipper Joe Girardi, who is managing the American League squad on Tuesday, snub the Red Sox first baseman on purpose? Or is he simply a fan of more traditional statistics, like the home run and RBI? We’re thinking the latter, but, either way, selecting Konerko over Youk was probably a misguided move for the sake of that whole “This One Counts” nonsense.
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.