Cliff Lee trade talk heating up; Rangers in play

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The competitive portion of the Phillies season seems to be over, so there has been a lot of chatter about them selling now. That Hunter Pence thing that was shot down is some of it. Joe Blanton is some other stuff. And now the Cliff Lee trade watch is getting into swing:

Buster Olney adds that Lee is “in play in trade talks.”

Lee has three years and $87.5 million left on his contract. If they traded him without eating  oodles of dough, they’d get little in exchange. If they ate up oodles of dough, they’d defeat a large part of the purpose of trading Cliff Lee.

I dunno. It sounds like a sexy deal and all, but the Rangers have had Cliff Lee in their Worlds Series rotation and he didn’t make the difference then, so I’m skeptical that they’d give up big prospects or eat big salary to try it again.

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.