Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday that he hadn’t spoken with the agent Roy Oswalt in about a week while adding that “the last we heard he was going to Texas.” Either Jocketty was being coy or something has changed in the past day or so, because Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com are now reporting that the Reds “remain in talks” with the veteran right-hander.
Rosenthal actually reported on Saturday that the Reds, Red Sox and Phillies had maintained contact with Oswalt’s representatives, but was later told that Cincinnati had merely kicked the tires and weren’t actively involved in negotiations. It turns out he may have been right the first time.
Oswalt would still prefer to pitch for the Rangers or Cardinals, but since both clubs have full starting rotations, he’s having a hard time landing the one-year, $8-10 million salary he reportedly covets. The Reds also have a full slate of starters, but it looks like they are hoping to take advantage of a depressed market in order to make a deal work. They would have to move salary in order to sign him and Homer Bailey is considered the most likely trade candidate.
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.