Jim Leyland stepping down as Tigers manager led to some speculation that Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson could be an option to replace him in Detroit, where the Michigan native played 12 seasons.
However, team chief executive officer Derrick Hall told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that the Diamondbacks likely would not grant Gibson permission to interview with the Tigers, saying: “He’s not going anywhere.”
Gibson has certainly gotten plenty of criticism this season, several members of his coaching staff won’t return for 2014, and Piecoro reports that the Diamondbacks “recently declined contract options that would have locked up Gibson through 2016.”
So now he’s signed for just one more season, but Hall says Gibson “likes it here” and “is a loyal guy.” Of course, it’s probably too soon to know if the Tigers are actually interested in Gibson, which might change the situation quite a bit. They might need some grit in Detroit too, you know.
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.