Jesus Montero is playing a lot of first base in winter ball

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Jesus Montero has only ever caught and played DH. But now he’s in the Venezuelan Winter League and he’s playing a ton of first base, reports MLB.com.

It’s probably good that he’s learning a new skill. After a rookie year in which he did sorta alright, he hit a mere .208/.264/.327 with three homers in 101 at-bats, got demoted and then got suspended for PEDs. The Mariners have probably given up on him. Still, he’s young and since he once showed a lot of promise he’ll get more chances in the game.  Better that he have as many tools in the toolbox as possible if he wants to take advantage of them.

He’s hitting down in Venezuela too. Maybe his disaster of 2013 was a wakeup call for him.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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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.