Pirates GM: “Very probable” Chris Snyder will start year on DL

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General manager Neal Huntington admitted yesterday that it’s “very probable” starting catcher Chris Snyder will begin the season on the disabled list due to back soreness.

Pittsburgh unsuccessfully tried to dump Ryan Doumit and his contract all offseason and throughout spring training, but Snyder’s injury actually opens the door for him to see some early action if manager Clint Hurdle is willing to use him behind the plate.

Doumit could split time at catcher with Jason Jaramillo until Snyder returns and Jenifer Langosch reports that John Bowker will take the open roster spot while replacing Doumit as a backup outfielder.

And if Doumit gets off to a good start offensively while not looking like a complete mess defensively, perhaps the Pirates will have an easier time unloading his contract once Snyder returns.

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.