Vernon Wells powers Yankees to victory

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Vernon Wells hit a two-run home run off of James Shields in the fifth inning of tonight’s contest against the Royals, a key component of the Yankees’ 3-2 victory. It was the eighth homer of the year for the Yankees left fielder, who entered the night with a .282/.333/.484 line.

The Yankees acquired Wells from the Angels on March 24, agreeing to pay $13.9 million of the $42 million left on his contract. Wells finished the 2012 season with 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 262 trips to the plate. He will eclipse both marks soon in roughly 100 fewer plate appearances. Brian Cashman is looking pretty good right about now, as his Yankees sit in first place atop the AL East, a game ahead of the Orioles and Red Sox.

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.