Josh Beckett’s critics will have to stand down for a few days: the occasional golfer and devourer of fried chicken blanked the Mariners for seven innings and struck out nine in Boston’s 5-0 victory Tuesday.
It was actually Beckett’s fifth quality start in seven tries this season. His other two outings were pretty spectacularly bad (he gave up five homers to the Tigers in his season debut and seven runs in 2 1/3 innings to the Indians last week), but he’s been good more often than not despite dealing with diminished velocity.
Beckett allowed just four hits in this one, though the Mariners did make a couple of bids for homers. Justin Smoak hit a drive over the wall in right in the second inning that appeared to be foul, though replay was inconclusive. The umpires ruled it foul and then went to the replay before standing by the call. In the sixth, Kyle Seager hit a ball to deep right with two men on. It would have been a homer in a few parks, but in Fenway, it was just a long out.
Beckett is now 3-4 with a 4.97 ERA this season. The Red Sox have won five in a row to improve to 17-19.
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.