Report: The Rockies have checked in with the Rays about Jeff Niemann

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UPDATE: According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Dodgers have called the Rockies, among other teams, to gauge their interest in left-hander Chris Capuano.

12:10 PM: After finishing last in the majors in 2012 with a 5.22 ERA, the Rockies are asking around about potential upgrades for their starting rotation.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Rockies have checked in with the Rays about the availability of right-hander Jeff Niemann, among others. However, it doesn’t appear as though anything is imminent, as Olney notes that talks haven’t advanced.

Niemann made just eight starts with the Rays last season due to a fractured fibula and shoulder inflammation, but owns a 4.08 ERA over five seasons in the majors. The soon-to-be 30-year-old is owed $3 million this season and is under team control through 2014. If the Rays were to move him, it could open up a spot for Roberto Hernandez, Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi in the starting rotation.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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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.