Not gonna say that there was bad blood between Bobby Valentine and Bob McClure, but …

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I figure people in Boston followed this more closely than the rest of us, but this passage from Sean McAdam’s story about the Red Sox firing Bob McClure says an awful lot:

McClure was granted a leave of absence from the team earlier in the season to attend to a sick infant who was seriously ill and Niemann served as interim pitching coach in McClure’s absence. After McClure returned, Valentine later made mention of McClure’s “two-week vacation” before correcting himself.

Gordon Edes, talking about the same verbal slip, firmly believes that it was no accident on Valentine’s part.

The Red Sox’ pitching stinks, so it probably made no difference, but when you are so far from being on the same page as your manager that he’s jabbing you over a leave of absence to attend to your sick child, you really never had any job security at all.

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.