In defense of Theo

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The knives that have been out for Theo Epstein and Terry Francona over the past few days has been great fun.  Only problem is that it obscures the fact that, hey, those guys did more for Red Sox baseball in the past few years than anyone else had for the previous 80+.

The response to that has been “anyone coulda done it!”  Bah.  As Andrew Mooney of the Globe notes in his “In defense of Theo” story today, even if you’re a hardliner and believe that Epstein benefited from Dan Duquette’s work in winning that 2004 title, the 2007 title was authored by him and the people who worked under him.

I can’t help but think that everyone in Boston is gonna wake up one day and realize that they’ve let their manager and GM go a bit too easily.

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.