Aaron Cook returns to Rockies on minor league contract

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After being released by the Phillies earlier this week, Aaron Cook is coming home.

According to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, Cook has agreed to a minor league deal with the Rockies. He’ll begin the season with Triple-A Colorado Springs, but is hopeful of getting another chance in the majors soon. Given the state of the Rockies’ pitching staff, he’s probably in a pretty good spot.

“I know I can still compete in the big leagues, I have no doubts,” he said. “I threw really well in spring training and my arm feels really good.”

Cook was originally drafted by the Rockies in 1997 and spent the first 10 years of his major-league career with the club. In fact, he’s still the team’s all-time leader in wins, starts and innings pitched. The 34-year-old right-hander had a 5.65 ERA and 20/21 K/BB ratio over 94 innings in 18 starts with the Red Sox last season.

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.