The Brewers trade Carlos Villanueva to Toronto

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Not a  lot of detail on this one yet, but the Brewers have traded righty reliever Carlos Villanueva to the Blue Jays for a player to be named later.

Villanueva pitched in 50 games last year, posting a 4.61 ERA and striking out 67 guys in 52 innings. He allows quite a few base runners, however, and for each of the past two years he’s been decidedly “meh,” which is a scientific scouting term that I’m sure I couldn’t explain to you because it’s such a complicated concept.

Still: Villanueva’s strikeout rate last year was unusually high for him, leaping from 7.8 Ks per nine innings in 2009 — which was his norm over the previous few years — to 11.4 last year.  Freakish?  Or has he figured something out?

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.