Jose Lopez is close to signing with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Lopez was an All-Star at age 22 and is still just 29 years old, but he hasn’t been a productive regular since 2009 and hit just .236 with a .615 OPS in 313 games as a part-time player during the past three seasons.
For his nine-season career Lopez is a .262 hitter with a .292 on-base percentage and .395 slugging percentage, which has to be among the worst production ever for someone who made an All-Star team so young. Of course, his “All-Star” season wasn’t particularly impressive, as he hit .282 with 10 homers and a .723 OPS, so it’s not as if Lopez was ever anything special.
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.