UPDATE: It’s now official.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins are close to signing Placido Polanco to a one-year, $2.75 million deal, which I suppose beats the other two old, not-very-good third basemen they were linked to yesterday: Miguel Tejada and Brandon Inge.
Polanco is 37 years old and has missed 112 of a possible 324 games during the past two seasons while hitting just .269 with a .323 on-base percentage and .334 slugging percentage. He hasn’t topped a .750 OPS since 2008.
Of course, most of the other available free agent third basemen are even less appealing and, if healthy, Polanco might still be capable of hitting .280 with a decent on-base percentage and above-average defense. Given his age and back problems that doesn’t seem particularly likely, but $2.75 million is a reasonable enough price tag and it’s not like the Marlins are trying to win anything in 2013 anyway.
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.