According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Tony La Russa is on the Mariners’ “short list” to replace Chuck Armstrong as team president. Armstrong announced in November that he was retiring after 28 years during two separate stints with the club. The Mariners began their interview process this week with two internal candidates, but Nightengale writes that La Russa “could be the odds-on-favorite” for the job if they look outside the organization.
For his part, La Russa wouldn’t talk specifically about a position with the Mariners when asked by Nightengale, but he wasn’t shy about his interest in leaving his job as a special assistant to MLB commissioner Bud Selig for a chance at a front office job with a team.
“I’m interested in getting to the competition upstairs,” La Russa said. “I’ve missed the competition since I left the field. I talked to the commissioner [Bud Selig] about it. It’s not a thing where you miss the dugout, but I miss the winning and losing.
“The situation has to be right.”
There should be a resolution soon, as Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln told Nightengale said that he hopes to make a decision within the next three weeks. Armstrong is set to leave his position as president on January 31.
UPDATE: La Russa has confirmed to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that he’s interested in the Mariners’ job. He even sent a resume. How adorable.
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.