Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Phillies have recently expressed interest in current free agent outfielder Vernon Wells. Wells was released by the Yankees last week and the Angels are paying the majority of his $21 million salary for 2014, so acquiring Wells is as cheap and risk-free as it can get.
Wells just turned 35 and hasn’t been an above-average regular since 2010, his last year with the Blue Jays. Since then, his offense has all but disappeared, dropping from an .847 OPS in 2010 to a career-low .631 last season. His defense and base running, which used to be assets, have become hindrances to his value.
That being said, Wells can still be a useful platoon or a bench bat. Wells posted an OPS near .700 against lefties and he has historically hit lefties even better than that. The Phillies already have two right-handed hitters, who should be used in a platoon situation but won’t be, in John Mayberry and Darin Ruf, but another team may be able to find a spot for Wells.
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.