Minor scare down in the Dominican Winter League.
From ESPN’s Buster Olney comes word that Indians catcher Carlos Santana fouled a ball off his right leg — near the knee — during a game Saturday while playing for Leones del Escogido. He left with a limp, but Olney says trainers are “not concerned” at this point that he suffered any sort of serious injury.
We can probably just call it a right leg bruise.
Santana, 26, batted .252/.365/.420 with 18 home runs and 76 RBI over 609 plate appearances this summer for the fourth-place Tribe. He hit .239/.351/.457 with 27 home runs and 79 RBI in 2011.
The Dominican native underwent major surgery on his left knee in August 2010 after getting railroaded on a play at the plate by Red Sox outfielder Ryan Kalish. He made a full recovery from that procedure.
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.