Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked Doug Melvin about rumors that the Brewers will make a strong run at Josh Hamilton via free agency and the general manager more or less shot them down.
“We’ve got the connection with [hitting coach] Johnny Narron but we don’t have the connection with U.S. Bank,” Melvin said, indicating that Hamilton will be out of the Brewers’ price range.
(Narron is currently the Brewers’ hitting coach after previously serving as Hamilton’s “accountability coach” with the Rangers and Reds.)
Of course, it’s possible that Hamilton ends up without any massive long-term offers, in which case teams that might not normally think of themselves as in the mix for the former MVP could get involved.
Even then the Brewers might be a long shot, because Haudricourt notes that their payroll is likely to go down after being $100 million this year and Melvin’s focus seems likely to be on pitching.
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.