Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports the Diamondbacks have interest in signing a backup catcher and that Henry Blanco is “at or near the top” of their list.
Blanco, 39, batted .215/.271/.300 with two home runs and eight RBI in 144 plate appearances with the Mets this past season while throwing out 50 percent (11-for-22) of would-be basestealers. The veteran backstop has a good reputation in the clubhouse and is known as a mentor to younger catchers, but much like the newly-signed Geoff Blum, he also has a connection with new Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers from their time together in San Diego. By the way, Blanco also looks like a good guy to have on your side during a fight.
I know, I know, this isn’t really anything particularly noteworthy, but anything involving Blanco has extra meaning to me, since I sponsor his page on Baseball Reference. Good luck to Hank.
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.