Felix Hernandez is up to around 225 innings this year on a Mariners team that has been going nowhere since about five minutes after camp broke. As a result, the M’s are going to give him six days rest between starts for his next two starts. Which is a smart move. He’s the future, and the present is pretty meaningless for the Mariners.
Of course, this will likely put a bullet in his Cy Young hopes. It was already a tough road for King Felix, what with the fact that he’s not good enough to somehow force his teammates to score runs for him, but this makes it rougher. Not that it should. Even with CC Sabathia’s great outing last night and Hernandez’s not so great one his last time out, it would take a boatload of scoreless innings by the former and three or four straight implosions by the latter for the numbers which matter to begin to even out.
But, for a healthy number of writers with Cy Young votes, there’s the dramatic narrative to consider. That narrative today says “CC Sabathia pitched a gutsy eight shutout innings in a pennant race last night, and the next day we learn that the sabermetric darling needs extra rest.” If the win totals weren’t enough to persuade these guys to vote for Sabathia, the narrative almost certainly is.
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.