Last week the New York Times ran a story about discrimination claims lodged against Jim Crane’s company several years ago and wondered if the existence of such claims could complicate his approval as the new owner of the Houston Astros. I was highly skeptical that would be an obstacle because if Bud Selig had any issues with Crane over this his bid for the Astros a couple of years ago would have been squashed, as would his bid for the Rangers last year. That the present sale of the Astros has gotten this far is pretty clear evidence that, as far as baseball is concerned, Crane has no worries.
Today Richard Justice confirms that, reporting that Crane met with Selig yesterday and that it’s full steam ahead. In the course of the article he notes how, if anyone was going to have a trouble with the discrimination allegations it would be Selig, and the fact that he’s cool with it means that everyone will be cool with it.
Now, we still await word as to whether anyone cares about those reports that Crane’s ownership group is debt heavy. For that I’m not holding my breath.
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.