When Davey Johnson was hired following the resignation of Jim Riggleman, it was thought to be a temporary gig. With comparisons to Jack McKeon, the story was that Johnson, already on the payroll, would be the 2011 caretaker and that this fall and winter Mike Rizzo would find the guy to lead the Nationals into a glorious future.
A funny thing happened on the way to that glorious future. Everyone realized that Davey Johnson is a pretty good manager. Tom Boswell writes:
The Nationals will go through a process after the season to analyze their options. Things can change. A better candidate might be found. But the dots have become so huge it’s impossible not to connect them. Baring an earthquake, Johnson is returning. And it’s a saga that’s gaining a “meant-to-be” quality.
Boswell has Rizzo as agreeing that, yes, they’ll look at other candidates, but quotes him saying “that’s a tough list to compile: managers who are better than Davey Johnson.”
If Davey wants to keep the job, I’m having a hard time seeing why the Nats wouldn’t want to give it to him.
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.