There was speculation that the White Sox would block the Indians’ attempt to reunite with Jim Thome by claiming him off waivers with their higher spot in line, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Thome indeed made it all the way to Cleveland on the waiver wire.
Rosenthal also reports that the White Sox ended up with the winning claim on Jason Kubel, so they simply decided to go after a different left-handed hitter from the middle of the Twins’ lineup.
Thome has a no-trade clause in his contract and Rosenthal notes that he’d prefer to join the Phillies for the stretch run, but the Indians are now the only team eligible to trade for the future Hall of Famer and could definitely use him with Travis Hafner potentially undergoing season-ending foot surgery.
Kubel being traded is far less likely, because as a Type B (and possibly Type A) free agent the Twins should be looking for a return package at least as valuable as the compensatory draft picks they’d receive if he left this offseason.
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.