The Cardinals are only looking at internal options to replace Ryan Franklin at closer

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With the off day there was not much news on the Cardinals’ closer front yesterday, but Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch did track down GM John Mozeliak, who confirmed that he’s not looking at making a deal at the moment:

“Right now, (Franklin) is going through some tough times and we’ve got to figure out a way to work through it. There’s not a whole lot you can do. Either he has more success, or somebody else gets the opportunity … all the options are internal.”

Those internal options include Mitchell Boggs, Miguel Batista Jason Motte and, if La Russa is willing to take a risk, Eduardo Sanchez.  I’d go with either Boggs or Sanchez because it would be nice to have a closer who actually strikes guys out and isn’t prone to the gopher ball, but you can’t really predict what Tony La Russa will do.

Remember, the Cardinals won a World Series in 2006 with Adam Wainwright as their closer, and he had never really pitched from the pen before that.  Anything is possible with Tony.

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.