The Yankees, not to be outdone by the Rangers, have filed their ALCS rotation. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com has the goods on Twitter.
CC Sabathia will start Game 1 in Texas on Saturday night. The American League Cy Young Award candidate registered a 21-7 record, a 3.18 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over 34 starts during the regular season, fanning 197 batters over 237-plus innings and walking just 74. He surrendered three runs in six innings during his lone ALDS start against the Twins, but the big man remains one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.
Phil Hughes will start Game 2, also in Texas. He turned in seven scoreless innings in the Yanks’ series-clinching Game 3 victory over the Twins in the ALDS and has enjoyed great success in the Rangers’ home park throughout his short career.
Andy Pettitte, the veteran left-hander, will take on Texas in the first game back at Yankee Stadium. He was 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 21 starts during the regular season and held the Twins to two earned runs over seven innings in his one ALDS start. He will face Rangers ace Cliff Lee.
A.J. Burnett will go in Game 4. His involvement in the semifinal series is unfortunate, but he is New York’s best option and might just have a dominant outing left in his bag of tricks. The 33-year-old righty hasn’t pitched in a major league game since October 2, when he allowed four runs in a six-inning start against the Red Sox. Maybe the freshness will help.
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.