Pirates to call up James McDonald for Thursday's start

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Acquired from the Dodgers over the weekend in the Octavio Dotel trade, James McDonald is expected to join the Pirates’ rotation to start Thursday against the Rockies.
As a 25-year-old with a good minor-league track record McDonald is certainly deserving of a shot that the Dodgers never quite seemed willing to give him. He had a solid 4.11 ERA in 76.2 innings during various stints with the Dodgers, but posted a sub par 63/40 K/BB ratio and got knocked around in five starts while thriving as a reliever.
McDonald may be destined for the bullpen long term, but the Pirates can certainly afford to give him a chance to establish himself as a mid-rotation starter after he went 9-2 with a 3.96 ERA and 125/45 K/BB ratio over 22 starts in a hitter-friendly environment at Triple-A.
He’s exactly the type of player the Pirates should be taking fliers on and they very did well to get McDonald and outfield prospect Andrew Lambo for Dotel.

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.