Way to kill the “baseball is dead” narrative: local broadcast ratings are up

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I know this will all be ignored the next time a national game of the week gets lower ratings than a broadcast of Aaron Rodgers riding his bicycle or something, but it is probably worth noting that broadcast ratings for baseball are up this year. At least the local ones which, as I’ve argued at length over the years, are the ones that really matter. And at least on the Fox affiliates.

Fox send me a press release yesterday noting that ten teams have seen increased ratings over April 2011 games, lead by the Yu Darvish-fueled Rangers broadcasts at an +89%. Also seeing increases: The Dodgers (+67%), Diamondbacks (+53%), Rays (+51%), Tigers (+50%), Braves (+39%) and the Cardinals (+15%).  Three other teams have see single-digit ratings increases.

But seriously, folks, baseball is dying.

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.