The Dodgers announced this evening that they have claimed outfielder Mike Baxter off waivers from the Mets. In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the club has designated outfielder Alex Castellanos for assignment.
Baxter is best known for saving Johan Santana’s no-hit bid last June 1 by crashing into the left field wall to make a catch and breaking his collarbone in the process. The 28-year-old batted just .189 with a .553 OPS in 155 plate appearances with the Mets this season, but he’s just one year removed from hitting .263/.365/.413 in 89 games.
Baxter has a chance to catch on as an extra outfielder and pinch-hitter with Los Angeles, but the Queens native can sleep soundly knowing that he won’t have to buy a drink for the rest of his life whenever he visits home.
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.