From Adam Rubin of ESPN New York comes word that Mets catcher Ronny Paulino has still not arrived at spring training due to visa issues.
Paulino was handed a 50-game suspension from MLB near the end of the 2010 season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. New Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is telling reporters that the current delay has at least something to do with that positive test.
It’s not known when the 29-year-old catcher might be cleared to travel to Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Paulino inked a one-year, $1.3 million contract this winter and is expected to serve as a backup to Josh Thole this year. A career .273/.328/.383 hitter, Paulino posted a .665 OPS, four home runs and 37 RBI across 344 plate appearances last season for the Marlins. He still has eight games left on his suspension.
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.