There may still be a reason to pay attention the Marlins over the final two months of the season, as Giancarlo Stanton’s return from right knee surgery is just around the corner.
According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Stanton expects to begin a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday with High-A Jupiter.
Stanton underwent surgery on July 8 to remove loose bone and cartilage fragments from his right knee. He believes he’ll need about four or five rehab games in anticipation of a possible return on August 10 against the Dodgers when the Marlins begin a six-game homestand.
Stanton, 22, is hitting .284/.364/.554 with 19 home runs, 50 RBI and a .919 OPS in 80 games this season. The Marlins are 4-11 since his last game on July 7 and have traded Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante during his absence. We could see more deals before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline.
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.