Hunter Pence beats Astros in final arbitration hearing of winter

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According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, Hunter Pence has won his arbitration hearing against the Astros. The three-person panel ultimately decided that Pence will earn a $6.9 million this season rather than the $5.15 million salary proposed by the Astros last month.

Pence, who turns 28 in April, earned $3.5 million in his first time through the arbitration process last winter as a Super Two. He batted .282/.325/461 last season while smacking 25 home runs for the third consecutive year and setting career-highs with 91 RBI, 93 runs scored and 18 stolen bases.

And with that, all arbitration hearings are in the books. Pence and Ross Ohlendorf beat their respective clubs while the Angels won against Jered Weaver.

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.