Does signing a PED-connected player raise “ethical issues?”

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It seems that Sandy Alderson was asked by reporters yesterday if signing catcher Ronny Paulino was an “ethical and public relations” problem in light of Paulino’s suspension for taking a banned stimulant last year. Not surprisingly, Alderson said no, it was not.

People can ask what they want to ask of course, but I don’t recall this being an issue with other players who have been linked to PEDs.  It is in keeping, however, with the curious scrutiny that some have given Alderson when it comes to PEDs and which is not given to other GMs who ran teams during the height of the steroid era.  As if Alderson cooked up ‘roids in an old Winnebago in the desert with Jose Canseco or something. Which would be totally cool, of course, but it didn’t happen that way.

My view: there are rules in place governing PEDs now. The suspensions are part of those rules, as is the reinstatement of suspended players.  Paulino did his time. There are no “ethical considerations” involved unless one does not respect the current rules in place.  And if that’s the case, the questions are not for Sandy Alderson. They’re for Bud Selig.

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.