At one point this offseason the Reds were said to be interested in bringing back Francisco Cordero, but now John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that they “hold little hope of re-signing” the 36-year-old closer.
Fay speculates that Cordero might even be willing to re-sign on a one-year deal because the closer market is over-saturated, but doesn’t seem to think the Reds should do that or will do that, pointing to in-house candidates like Bill Bray, Sam LeCure, Jose Arredondo, Brad Boxberger.
He also tosses out Edinson Volquez as a possible closer option, which makes some sense if he doesn’t have a rotation spot. Volquez has just four career relief appearances, three of which came as a rookie in 2005, but he certainly has the raw stuff to thrive in short outings and hasn’t been the same as a starter since arm surgery.
Cordero saved 37 games with a 2.45 ERA this year, but his strikeout rate plummeted to a career-low 5.4 per nine innings and most closer-needy teams seem to view him largely as a fallback option.
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.