Cubs, Yankees, Braves and Dodgers bidding on Jorge Soler

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Buster Olney reports that the first round of bidding on Cuban free agent Jorge Soler are in — his agent wanted bids by yesterday — and that the Cubs, Yankees, Braves and Dodgers have been the most aggressive.

The Cubs are not surprising given that they’ve been whispered about having strong interest in Soler and, in some cases, have been whispered about already having a handshake deal with the guy, though the Cubs vehemently denied it. There’s talk that the Red Sox, Pirates, Orioles, Phillies, and White Sox are in on him too.

Soler has to sign a deal by July 2 or else he comes under the purview of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement’s limitation on international signings.  Assuming he does that he could be looking at a $25 million deal.

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.