Minor-league rehab assignments are limited to 20 days, in part so that teams can’t simply stash veteran players in the minors indefinitely. In some cases, however, an injury lingers longer than 20 days and things become tricky.
That’s happening with Mariners outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, whose hamstring injury remains an issue after 20 days in the minors. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that he’ll be examined by a doctor and then the Mariners will petition MLB for the right to have Gutierrez begin a second 20-day rehab assignment.
All of which seems mostly like a formality–MLB isn’t going to force Gutierrez to return from the disabled list when he’s clearly not fully healthy–but the bigger point is that injuries continue to wreck the once-promising center fielder’s career.
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.