Juan Nicasio spoke to the media yesterday about two weeks after a line drive to the head left the Rockies pitcher with a fractured neck and the 24-year-old right-hander said: “I want to pitch again.”
Nicasio underwent surgery on a fractured C-1 vertebrae, which is the same injury that paralyzed actor Christopher Reeve and often leads to significant long-term problems. However, according to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post in Nicasio’s case “the only visible sign of his ordeal was the neck brace he wore to the press conference.”
If everything continues to go well, Nicasio could be cleared to pitch in the Dominican instructional league as soon as November. “I’m lucky,” Nicasio said. “God was very good to me. Some people who have that injury don’t live.”
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.