No official move has been made yet, but Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that Jason Bay “will almost certainly” begin the season on the disabled list with an intercostal strain in his left rib cage.
Bay flew back to New York to have the injury examined by doctors today and would be eligible to come off the disabled list as soon as April 9 thanks to the stint being backdated.
In the meantime Lucas Duda is expected to replace Bay on the roster and could split time with Scott Hairston in left field.
Duda entered last season as largely an unknown prospect, but the former seventh-round pick hit .304 with 23 homers, 40 doubles, and a .967 OPS in 115 games between Double-A and Triple-A before making his big-league debut in September. He bats left-handed while Hairston swings right-handed, so they could form a natural platoon.
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.