Or: how you know that the offseason has dragged on long enough: 863 words on Matt Holliday and David Freese playing squash:
Looking for a competitive alternative to add to their offseason workouts this winter, Freese and Holliday found squash. A cousin of racquetball, the game features a smaller ball with less bounce and tends to have longer rallies and heightened strategy. The game scratched an itch that weightlifting, for example, did not.
They could keep score.
“It’s fun,” Holliday said. “It’s better than running cones.”
In all seriousness, it’s an interesting article. You see a lot of things about ballplayers’ offseason activities, but they tend to be little bullet points in a notes column (“David Eckstein has taken up line dancing …”). Derrick Goold’s story about the squash is actually a fun read.
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.