It’s not a good sign when a team that’s wrecked by injuries and looking everywhere for lineup help decides you’re not worth keeping around, but that’s exactly what just happened to Juan Rivera.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Yankees have released Rivera, who signed a minor-league contract in late January.
New York has added Brennan Boesch, Vernon Wells, and Lyle Overbay since signing Rivera, but there was still a place for him if they thought he could hit. At age 34 that’s in serious question, as Rivera batted just .244 with a .661 OPS in 109 games for the Dodgers last season and hasn’t topped a .750 OPS since 2009.
Overbay looks likely to be the Opening Day first baseman now, being handed the starting job three days after signing with the Yankees.
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.