Cleared of murder charges, Angel Villalona drops $5 million lawsuit against Giants and rejoins organization

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Last month Angel Villalona sued the Giants for $5 million claiming that they violated the terms of his contract after he was charged with murder in 2009.

Villalona spent three months in a Dominican Republic jail after being accused of killing a 25-year-old man in a nightclub, but the charges were eventually dismissed as part of a $139,000 settlement with the victim’s family and now Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the former top prospect will settle the lawsuit with the Giants and resume playing in the minors.

Villalona received $2.1 million to sign with the Giants as a 16-year-old in 2006 and is still just 21 despite not playing since mid-2009. However, even before the murder charges his prospect stock was slipping thanks to mediocre production and a hideous 235/45 K/BB ratio in the low levels of the minors.

Giants senior vice president of communications Staci Slaughter told Schulman that Villalona will “most likely” be reinstated and report to the team’s academy in the Dominican Republic to start working his way back into game shape.

What a weird story. And there’s still no guarantee he’ll be allowed back in the United States.

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.