Barry Shlachter of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that we’ll know today whether Mark Cuban is in or out of the August 4th auction of the Texas Rangers. The bidders are meeting today, Shlachter reports, and he has all the details in the increasingly technical and slightly boring sale of the Texas Rangers.
Not boring is Cuban, however, and today Maury Brown has a look at Mark Cuban: potential owner over at FanGraphs. It’s well worth a read, though I think Maury is being way too hard on Cuban here, and far too credulous of Major League Baseball’s assertions regarding the desirability of the Chuck Greenberg Group as owners.
Maury talks about how Cuban would be a distraction as Bud Selig focuses “on growing MLB’s business instead of chasing maverick owners around,” but that ignores the fact that Selig and his gang have always put provincial and clubby loyalty concerns above business considerations when it comes to choosing ownership groups. It also ignores the fact that the biggest “maverick” of an owner baseball has ever seen — George Steinbrenner — is probably more responsible for “growing MLB’s business” than Bud Selig and the types of owners he has favored in recent years put together.
Not that Cuban is any sure-fire MLB savant. I just think that his track record — which Maury accurately notes — entitled him to a little more deference than the “crazy Mark Cuban!” treatment he usually gets.
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.