Bo Porter is the first candidate to interview for Astros job

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General manager Jeff Luhnow said earlier this week that the Astros would soon begin interviewing 6-8 candidates for their managerial opening and sure enough Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that Nationals third base coach Bo Porter is in Houston this afternoon interviewing for the job.

It’s a little unusual that the interviews would start while the season is still in progress and interim manager Tony DeFrancesco is still trying to win games, but Luhnow has said that DeFrancesco will be one of the candidates considered and … well, the Astros are bad enough that some added drama probably won’t hurt much anyway.

Porter, whose yelling into the Cubs dugout helped lead to a benches-clearing skirmish last week, has interviewed for several other managerial openings in past seasons. He lives in Houston during the offseason and according to McTaggart owner Jim Crane personally picked up Porter from the airport.

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.