Chien-Ming Wang appears to have the inside track on the Nationals’ fifth starter job, which leaves John Lannan in a state of limbo. He does have an option remaining, so it’s possible he could begin the season with Triple-A Syracuse, but Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports that it’s increasingly likely that he’ll be traded prior to Opening Day.
Knobler names the Red Sox and Tigers as the teams believed to be the “most focused” on Lannan while the Astros have also shown some interest. Other potential suitors like the Mets or Padres could be scared off by Lannan’s $5 million salary for this season.
Lannan, 27, posted a 3.70 ERA and 106/76 K/BB ratio over 184 2/3 innings last season. He remains under team control through 2013, though a projected raise through the arbitration process will likely render him a non-tender candidate this offseason.
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.