We’ve heard all sorts of chatter about the Phillies possibly moving impending free agents Cole Hamels or Shane Victorino if GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. decides to become a seller before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but they aren’t the only players drawing interest from opposing general managers.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported last night that Reds are among the teams who have expressed interest in outfielder Juan Pierre. Entering today’s action, Reds leadoff hitters rank dead-last in the majors this season in batting average (.201), on-base percentage (.246) and OPS (.562), so GM Walt Jocketty is keeping the phone lines open for an upgrade.
Pierre joined the Phillies on a minor league deal over the winter and is hitting .312/.349/.380 with one home run, 17 RBI and a .730 OPS through 72 games played this season. The 34-year-old outfielder is currently tied for fourth in the majors with 20 stolen bases. If acquired by the Reds, he would likely be used as part of an outfield rotation with Drew Stubbs, Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey.
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.