Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Wilson Ramos intends to start playing for Aragua Tigres on Wednesday. This is one of those deals where, after you get over the initial reaction — dude, I’d be the heck out of Venezuela, like, yesterday if I were him — it makes a ton of sense.
After Ramos’ ordeal, you have to figure that some normalcy is in order, and it doesn’t get more normal than playing ball. Also, as we learned on Friday, the security for players who are actually with Venezuelan ballclubs is pretty fantastic. It’s inescapable that Ramos was way more vulnerable at home doing his own thing than he would be hanging around the clubhouse.
Finally, you can’t discount the “lightning doesn”t strike twice” theory. Kidnappings happen in Venezuela every day. Ramos’ was one of the few that led to such a wide and swift reaction among the populace and the government. You have to figure that would-be kidnappers are going to consider Ramos and his family hands-off. Heck, would-be kidnappers may decide to lay off major leaguers overall because the heat is too hot. At least you’d hope so.
Anyway: have a good winter league season, Ramos. See you in Florida come February.
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.