UPDATE: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports hears that Pierzynski’s one-year deal is worth $7.5 million.
5:31 PM: T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com says it’s a done deal, with the physical exam slated for tomorrow.
A.J. Pierzynski has regularly been linked to the Rangers for the past couple weeks and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the two sides are “closing in on a one-year contract.”
According to Rosenthal the deal is not yet agreed upon and would be pending a physical exam.
Texas has been looking for catching help since Mike Napoli left as a free agent and getting Pierzynski for a one-year commitment coming off a career-year would be a nice pickup given speculation that he was searching for multiple years.
At age 35 he’s highly unlikely to duplicate his 2012 numbers, which included 27 homers after never hitting more than 18 before, but even a return to his normal production would be a nice fit in the Rangers’ mostly right-handed lineup and they have a good platoon partner for Pierzynski in Geovany Soto.
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.