Aramis Ramirez shuts the door on trade rumors

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After weeks of talk that he’d use his no-trade clause to block any deal out of Chicago, Aramis Ramirez appeared to leave the door open for a deal on Thursday by saying “if they’re looking to rebuild, I can’t fit in, so we’ll see.”

On Friday, though, he removed any doubt about his desire to remain with the Cubs.  According to Ramirez, he was asked what he wanted to do by GM Jim Hendry a couple of weeks ago and he said he wanted to stay.  Hendry has respected that and declined to shop him.

While reiterating his preferance to remain a Cub, Ramirez didn’t rule out considering a deal if one was presented to him.  However, he isn’t on the market at the moment, and the first thing he said to reporters tonight, according to MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat, is that he isn’t going anywhere.

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.