Report: Mariners want Cruz & Beltran, not so much Ellsbury

9 Comments

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has the Mariners aiming for a couple of outfielders, but not the center fielder they’ve long been connected to.

Ellsbury was born in Oregon and went to school at Oregon State, so it’s long been thought he might prefer a return to the Pacific Northwest if the Red Sox don’t meet his asking price. That might not be in the cards, though. After all, Ellsbury can play defense, and the Mariners aren’t about to pay him to do that.

So, Beltran and Cruz instead? It’s highly unlikely, given that Beltran could have his pick of offers from the Cardinals, Red Sox, Yankees and Rangers. Cruz is a more realistic target, with the Rangers seemingly willing to let him go. Last season’s steroid ban has cut into his market some, but it’s not likely to stop him from getting at least a three-year deal. The Mariners could use him as a corner outfielder next season and then transition him to DH later once they again come to the realization that defense matters.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

Getty Images
5 Comments

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.