Lance Berkman has been on the disabled list since July 7 with hip and knee problems, but the veteran designated hitter said yesterday that he’ll wait until at least September 1 to be activated by Texas.
Berkman explained to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com that waiting until rosters expand will make things easier on the Rangers, who otherwise would have to drop someone from the roster to make room for him.
Sullivan also notes that Berkman “would likely come back in a limited role, either as a part-time designated hitter or a pinch-hitter off the bench.” He feels good enough to come off the disabled list now, but is far from 100 percent healthy because his right knee “is not great, but it’s not going to be.”
Berkman didn’t show much power before going on the DL, but did draw a ton of walks and get on base at a solid .355 clip in 68 games.
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.