Rangers GM Jon Daniels closes the book on the Nelson Cruz era in Texas

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The Rangers formally introduced free agent signee Shin-Soo Choo at a press conference earlier today. GM Jon Daniels signed the outfielder to a seven-year, $130 million deal. Including Choo’s $14 million salary for 2014, the Rangers stand at about $116 million guaranteed to 15 players, leaving them $9 million shy of last season’s Opening Day payroll of $125 million.

It seems obvious, though you can never assume, but the Rangers are done with the heavy lifting. Daniels called free agent Nelson Cruz to thank him for his time in Texas. Daniels expects Cruz to sign elsewhere, according to ESPN’s Richard Durrett. Rangers co-chairman Bob Simpson also said that the club is over budget and thus unlikely to get involved the Masahiro Tanaka bidding, per Durrett.

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.