Joey Votto is hoping to play for Team Canada in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but he underwent knee surgery last summer and must pass a physical for insurance purposes before he’s given the go-ahead. This according to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
“We have every reason to believe there will be no issue whatsoever,” Team Canada’s manager, Greg Hamilton, told reporters on Saturday. That physical will presumably take place in a couple of weeks.
Votto hit .337/.474/.567 with 14 home runs and 56 RBI in 111 games last season for Cincinnati. He owns an exceptional .316/.415/.553 career MLB batting line.
If he’s cleared to play, the 29-year-old native of Toronto will join a roster that already includes Brett Lawrie, Justin Morneau, Russell Martin, Michael Saunders, John Axford and Jesse Crain. Ryan Dempster was extended an invitation but is probably going to stay in camp all spring with his new Red Sox teammates.
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.