This has been a rough first six weeks for closers, as half the teams in baseball have a new guy in the ninth-inning role due to poor performances and/or injuries.
Of the closers left standing only four guys have at least five saves without a blown save and showing someone the list before the season would have confused the hell out of them (and probably still does): Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, Jonathan Papelbon, Matt Capps.
Those four have combined to convert 43-of-43 save chances. The other 20 closers with at least five saves have converted 156-of-188 save chances, which works out to an 82 percent success rate that’s actually pretty typical across MLB most seasons.
But still: Matt Capps, Fernando Rodney, Jim Johnson, and Jonathan Papelbon.
Proven closers, y’all.
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.