Maury Brown, who keeps good track of this stuff, notes that while attendance remains flat overall compared to last year, this past weekend several marks were set.
- The Saturday game between the Phillies and Nationals drew 44,685, which was the largest crowd at Nationals Park history;
- The Cardinals Cubs game on Saturday drew 42,374 which was the largest crowd in Wrigley Field since 1978; and
- The three-game series between the Indians and the Tigers drew 132,239, which was the biggest three-game series in Comerica Park history. No doubt boosted by that Willie Hernandez tribute before Saturday’s game, right?
It’ll be interesting to see what happens to attendance in September as everyone comes to grips with the fact that hardly any of the games are going to matter for playoff purposes. But as this past weekend shows, people don’t really have any problem going to the ballpark on a nice day just for the hell of it.
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.