ESPN The Magazine conducted a survey of a handful of MLB players and asked their attitudes about A-Rod, his suspension and the whole drama with Ryan Dempster plunking him last week. You may be surprised at the results.
Go read the specific questions asked, the breakdown and some select quotes from the anonymous respondents, but the upshot is that way more players think less of Dempster than A-Rod, the vast majority have no issue with him playing pending his appeal and recognize his right to do so as a matter of collective bargaining. A much larger number than you might think thinks Bud Selig is out of line in giving A-Rod a 211-game suspension.
Is it scientific? Nope. But I think it’s more reflective of player views than any given column in which the columnist — who already believes A-Rod is History’s Greatest Monster — finds a player or two who will go on record echoing those sentiments.
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.