The Twins appear to be far from locks to re-sign either Michael Cuddyer or Jason Kubel, but they have added infielder Jamey Carroll and catcher-first baseman Ryan Doumit since free agency began. So, here’s a guess at their lineup as it stands right now:
CF Denard Span
SS Jamey Carroll
C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
DH Ryan Doumit
3B Danny Valencia
RF Trevor Plouffe
2B Alexi Casilla
LF Ben Revere
Obviously, that’s not going to cut it. The Twins’ four best hitters — Mauer, Morneau, Span and Doumit — all have big durability questions, and even if one could pencil everyone in that lineup for 500 at-bats, Morneau might be the only one to get to 20 homers.
The Twins are likely to pick up one more bat this winter, but in truth, they probably need two. Re-signing Cuddyer is their preference. A pure DH would also make sense, though they can wait there. If Vladimir Guerrero falls through the cracks and ends up signing for $3 million-$4 million, he’d be a nice fit. Doumit is listed as the DH here, but it’s his flexibility as an alternative at catcher and first base that drew the Twins to him.
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.