The most important thing you’ll read about hot stove rumors today

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Sam Miller of the OC Register explains how one tiny bit of nothing about anything can turn into a rumor of a player being connected with a given team in the space of a few tweets, using the example of a Ryan Doumit rumor to trace the path from ether to concrete, such as it is.

It’s funny and illuminating in the extreme.  Mostly because it shows how the various components of the media — actual reporters + bloggers/aggregators + team-specific bloggers can each carry out their own particular mandate responsibly enough and yet we still end up with a pretty wrong rumor out there.

Ultimately I just thank heavens that this racket is mostly a winter time-killing thing and not, you know, nuclear security or something.

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.