Justin Upton’s thumb injury is suddenly looking like a bigger deal. FOXSportsArizona’s Jack Magruder reports that he’ll get an MRI and see a hand specialist. A DL stint is a possibility.
Upton was a trendy pick to win NL MVP honors this year after busting out for 31 homers as a 23-year-old last season. However, with the thumb limiting him, he’s opened this season with a .212 average and no RBI through 10 games.
Fortunately, the Diamondbacks have the depth to cover an Upton injury. While many rallied against the team’s signing of Jason Kubel over the winter, it did turn Gerardo Parra into the league’s best fourth outfielder. He can play regularly in right field for however long Upton is out. If the Diamondbacks hadn’t signed Kubel, they might well have been left playing Willie Bloomquist in the outfield and John McDonald at shortstop for the duration of Upton’s absence. The Triple-A options (David Winfree, A.J. Pollock and Cole Gillespie) aren’t very attractive.
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.