UPDATE: Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Hale has accepted the bench coach job in Toronto.
Friday, 9:44 PM: Well, would you look at that? Some actual news on this slow Friday evening.
The Orioles were hoping to retain DeMarlo Hale as their third base coach, but Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com hears that he’s likely going to accept the bench coach job with the Blue Jays. Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com goes a step further by saying Hale will be hired and adds that he could get a three-year deal to join John Gibbons’ staff.
Hale has a long history as a coach and a minor league manager. He was on Terry Francona’s staff in Boston for six years, both as a third base coach and bench coach, before joining the Orioles last season. The Blue Jays actually interviewed him for manager two offseasons ago before they hired John Farrell.
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.