Derek Jeter has yet to play this season, his shortstop fill-in Eduardo Nunez is on the disabled list with an oblique injury, and now the fill-in’s fill-in, Jayson Nix, is on the DL with a hamstring strain.
Nix has been the Yankees’ primary shortstop since mid-May, but has hit just .236 with two homers and a .607 OPS in 73 games. Of course, that looks like pretty solid production compared to the infielder the Yankees just signed to fill his roster spot, Luis Cruz, who was let go by the Dodgers earlier this week after hitting .127 in 45 games.
So now the Yankees are on their fourth-string shortstop and Cruz has gone from being employed by the team with MLB’s second-highest payroll to being employed by the team with MLB’s highest payroll.
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.