Bryce Harper is simply toying with the Sally League

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Bryce Harper is 18-years-old. Most guys his age will just be getting drafted next month or heading to college in the fall. As such, he is painfully young to be playing full-season A-ball right now, but there he is in the Sally League. And he’s making a mockery of it.

Yesterday he went 4-for-5 with a grand slam. He currently has a 15-game hitting streak going. Overall he’s at .396/.472/.712, with a league-leading 1.184 OPS.  Eight of the top ten guys in that league in that department are 22 or older.  Indeed, the only other player in the top 100 in OPS in that league who is 18 is Manny Machado, and he at least played rookie ball last year.

This doesn’t change the call-up calculus. The Nationals aren’t going to win the division with Harper there this year so they can fail to win the division him still in the minors too.  But it does remind one that, if you want to see Bryce Harper play in the minor leagues, you best get to it while the gettin’s good.

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.