Mets hire J.P. Ricciardi as special assistant to Sandy Alderson

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New Mets GM Sandy Alderson has already secured one of his former trusted lieutenants. During a conference call just a short while ago, former Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi was officially added to the Mets’ front office under the title of special assistant to the general manager. We’re a long way from Tony Bernazard, folks.

Here’s Alderson’s statement on Ricciardi, via a team press release:

“J.P. brings a wealth of knowledge and a breadth of experience to the organization,” said Alderson. “I worked with him for over a decade in Oakland and I know first hand he’s a superb talent evaluator. He’ll be a tremendous resource in a variety of areas.”

Interestingly, according to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, Ricciardi said he turned down a long-standing offer from the Red Sox in order to reunite with his former boss in Queens.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com, Alderson said it was possible that he will add yet another member to his front office in the next week or so. Early speculation is that Alderson hopes to hire Athletics special assistant and known “draft guru” Grady Fuson and/or Padres executive vice president Paul DePodesta.

It’s too bad the Giants have proved that this “Moneyball” stuff is complete B.S., huh?

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.