George King of the New York Post reports that the Rangers are going to make a five-year offer to Cliff Lee. The Yankees may have already made one, with some putting the dollars at around $23 million a year, so they’ll have to top that. Or at least come close to it if you believe the stuff about relative tax rates and advanced metrics like WAR (Wife Agitation Rate) and APF (Arkansas Proximity Factor).
I don’t have any special insight into the Rangers’ front office on this point, but some people I talk to who say they know a little about them are skeptical that Greenberg and Ryan will lay out that kind of cash. And given that they’re apparently interested in Zack Greinke and in doing things like moving Neftali Feliz to the rotation, they are certainly prepared to go on without Lee.
But at least now, with a second official bidder, things are about to get interesting.
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.