We’ve heard that the Rockies are interested in Justin Morneau for their open first base job. But if that doesn’t work out, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that James Loney is the fallback option.They still want Morneau, however, Renck says, and he believes they can get him on a two-year deal given that no other team seems to be in on him right now.
Loney had what appears at first glance to be a breakout/resurgent season for the Rays last year, with a line of .299/.348/.430 to go with 13 HR and 75 RBI. But looking closer, you see that most of the damage he did was done during his scorching-hot April and May, and after that he settled back in to a Loney-esque .283/.328/.382 over the final four months of the season. That was still totally cool for the Rays, though, as he only cost them $2 million.
If he doesn’t break the bank Loney can still be valuable, especially given his fine defense. But fans of whichever team lands him should expect his production to look a lot more like those last four months of 2013, not the first two or the overall batting line for the year.
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.