Since you can’t get rid of all the players–particularly when you don’t have any money to hire new ones–the Dodgers have decided to fire hitting coach Jeff Pentland and replace him with Dave Hansen on an interim basis.
Pentland, 64, was the Dodgers “hitting instructor” behind then-hitting coach Don Mattingly from 2008 to 2010 before moving up to the bigger job this season, with the Dodgers ranking 15th among NL teams in scoring. He also previously filled the same job with the Mariners, Royals, and Cubs.
Hansen played parts of 15 seasons in the majors, including 11 of them with the Dodgers, and was primarily a bench bat who totaled just 2,893 innings defensively in 1,230 career games. After retiring in 2005 he served as the Diamondbacks’ minor-league hitting coordinator before joining the Dodgers’ coaching staff this year.
When a team ranks second-to-last in scoring it’s tough to quibble with firing the hitting coach, but Pentland also didn’t have a whole lot to work with this season as the Dodgers have given 1,500 plate appearances to Rod Barajas, James Loney, Aaron Miles, Juan Uribe, Tony Gwynn Jr., and Dioner Navarro. And really, Pentland coaxing a .700 OPS out of Miles should be considered a minor miracle.
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.