From the Department of Does Anyone Besides Marketing People Think This is a Good Idea:
Major League Baseball will continue talks next month on a plan that would pit the World Series winner against Japan’s champion.
The linked article talks about nothing besides the weather in the respective championship cities. But I’m not terribly concerned about that. Mostly because it would almost certainly be the case that a neutral site was picked. There are a lot of domes in Japan. I’m sure U.S. games would be played so late in the year that they’d have to move to Milwaukee or Seattle or Los Angeles or something anyway.
No, what I’m worried about is when the ace pitcher of the World Series champ blows his arm out while pitching his 300th inning of the year, all in the interests of defeating the Chiba Lotte Marines. Not to slight the Marines — fine ballclub, I’m sure — but that’s not what the Giants are playing Tim Lincecum to do. And it’s certainly not what Giants fans want to see. I’m guessing the same goes for Marines fans and their ace too.
This idea is about nothing but marketing.
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.