Two months after lacerating a tendon in his right thumb while on a hunting trip Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner described himself as “ready to go” and said he expects to be ready for Opening Day.
Back in early December he was dressing a deer he’d killed when his friend slipped and punctured Cashner’s thumb with a knife. It required surgery and Cashner was initially given a three-month recovery timetable.
Barring a setback it sounds likely that he’ll begin the season on the active roster, although his role remains unclear because Cashner may be a little behind other pitchers in building up arm strength. Cashner told Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that he’d prefer to start, but general manager Josh Byrnes indicated that relief work could be the plan early on.
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.