Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com just spoke with Kevin Youkilis, who was thrilled to hear about the pending trade for Adrian Gonzalez.
“It’s great,” Youkilis said. “The way he hits at PETCO [Park], he can hit at Fenway Park because he can use the [left field] wall to his advantage. It’s going to be great to have him on the team. That’ll be a huge acquisition for us if everything works out.”
Youkilis, who underwent season-ending surgery on his right thumb in August, doesn’t mind moving back to third base.
“I’m not worried about that,” he said. “I just have to work hard like I always do and focus on playing third and not first. There’s a lot of time at spring training to do all that. I’ll prepare myself the right way to play as many games as I can at third base.”
While Youkilis is no Adrian Beltre at the hot corner, he has been above average there during his career, according to UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) on FanGraphs. We spend a lot of time talking about Gonzalez’s bat, but don’t forget that the two-time Gold Glove Award winner also has the reputation as an excellent fielder.
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.