Three weeks ago the Twins claimed Clete Thomas off waivers from the Tigers and gave him the fourth outfielder job, sending Ben Revere back to Triple-A for some additional seasoning.
Thomas homered in his second at-bat for Minnesota … and then went 3-for-26 with 16 strikeouts, and today the Twins designated him for assignment while claiming a new backup outfielder, Erik Komatsu, off waivers from the Cardinals.
St. Louis selected Komatsu from Washington in the Rule 5 draft and before that the Nationals acquired him from the Brewers for Jerry Hairston, so this is the 24-year-old’s fourth team in about 10 months. It’s also worth noting that the Twins had the No. 2 pick in that Rule 5 draft and passed on Komatsu to take Terry Doyle from the White Sox, only to offer him back in mid-March.
Komatsu doesn’t project as a regular, but he can play all three outfield spots and has good speed with a .389 career on-base percentage in the minors. He’ll fill the same role as Thomas.
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.