And That Happened: Monday’s playoff highlights

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Giants 9, Cardinals 0:  Baseball rope-a-dope? The Giants just can’t be bothered until an elimination game? A Cardinal choke? An 88-win team finally showing why it only won 88 games?  A Giants pitching staff showing everyone that they are the deepest and best in the game? I guess there is some truth in all of that. Whatever you credit for the outcome of the series, however, this Game 7 was an obliteration and it probably will stick with St. Louis for a long, long time.

For now it doesn’t matter, however, as the Giants are NL Champs and the Cardinals are going home to St. Louis, their ascent stalled one win short of the World Series for three straight games.  San Francisco will face Detroit. The matchup, on paper, looks excellent. A matchup of two teams with a long and rich history yet who have never faced one another in a World Series. Two great pitching staffs. Two likely MVP winners.  Bring. It. On.

I’ll be getting on a plane for San Francisco later this morning where, for the first time, HBT will be giving you on-site coverage of the Fall Classic.  Not that I’m gonna stop talking about Batman and bourbon and stuff. I’ll just be doing it from the World Series. Hope you come along for the ride.

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.