Joel Zumaya threw for a big group of teams earlier this month and reportedly topped out in the mid-90s with his fastball, leading to lots of optimism about the oft-injured reliever’s latest comeback.
However, an unnamed American League general manager told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that “our doctors don’t think he would pass the physical based on what they see.”
Zumaya hasn’t pitched since gruesomely fracturing his elbow in mid-2010, but physical exams can of course be waived and he may also decide to wait another month or two before signing anyway.
Whatever the case, if he’s throwing 95 miles per hour again and is willing to accept a minor-league contract some team will certainly take a flier on Zumaya, who despite all his arm problems is still just 27 years old and has never ceased being effective in between disabled list stints.
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.