The Padres and Giants battled to a tight finish in the National League West standings last season.
It all came down to one final three-game series in San Francisco that almost saw the Giants blow a three-game division lead. They eventually wrapped up that series with a win in Game 162 and went on to win the World Series.
Both the Giants and Padres, whether thinking in realistic terms or not, are expecting a tight race again in 2011. Fuel: meet fire.
According to the Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, a San Diego-area memorabilia store is selling three baseballs signed by Mat Latos that read “I hate SF” under the right-hander’s signature.
This probably won’t lead to anything. It’s just a case of Latos having a little fun, and the Giants’ players probably won’t want to start a war of words by making some kind of comeback remark. But that stuff between the Cardinals and Reds last season was pretty exciting and saying you “hate” a team is at least somewhat close to calling that team a “bunch of little b–ches.” Right?
So, uh, Fight!?
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.