Athletics option Jarrod Parker to Triple-A after he walks seven in Monday start

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Jarrod Parker was the centerpiece of the deal which sent Trevor Cahill to the Diamondbacks in December, but he showed this afternoon that he may need a little more seasoning.

Parker issued seven walks over just 3 2/3 innings against Arizona, after which he was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. The 23-year-old right-hander undoubtedly had some nerves facing his former team, but he walked three batters in each of his previous two outings and averaged 3.8 BB/9 last season at Double-A after missing the entire 2010 season following Tommy John surgery.

Even though Parker was sent down, Athletics manager Bob Melvin told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he hasn’t necessarily ruled him out for the final spot in the starting rotation. The team won’t need a fifth starter for the first time until April 17 due to scheduled off-days, so the plan calls for him to stay behind and work in Arizona for now.

“I know he’s disappointed about not going to Japan, but that doesn’t mean he’s not in the running for the fifth-starter spot,” Melvin said “He is going to be part of this team, if not right now, certainly in the future. He’s as talented a guy as we have here.”

As of now, Tommy Milone, Tyson Ross and Graham Godfrey figure to follow Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon in Oakland’s starting rotation.

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.