Francisco Rodriguez accepts arbitration from Brewers

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The Brewers offered arbitration to free agent right-hander Francisco Rodriguez last month in order to fetch draft picks when he signed elsewhere.

But the reliever market has been rough since Jonathan Papelbon scored a massive deal from the Phillies and now it appears that Milwaukee will be stuck with a high-priced setup man in 2012.

According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, K-Rod will “probably” accept the Brewers’ offer of salary arbitration later tonight.

Rodriguez earned $11.5 million in 2011 and stands to make around $14 million for 2012 through the arbitration process. He posted a strong 2.64 ERA and 79/26 K/BB ratio over 71 2/3 innings this past year, but the low-budget Brewers don’t typically overpay relievers. Perhaps a trade will be coming.

UPDATE: MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy confirms that K-Rod has accepted arbitration.

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.