MLB, MLBPA discussing changes to drug program

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Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi reports that officials with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are talking about changes to the drug program. Under the current plan the sides can and do meet each year to discuss alterations and such alterations are often made. For example, last year baseline testosterone screening and HGH blood testing was included.

This year, Morosi reports, the changes being discussed are small, but could include the severity of penalties, which has been a hot topic since the Biogenesis story broke. Many players and, one presumes, the league are in favor of stiffer penalties for first-time offenses.

Of course, given that MLB just got A-Rod for 162-games on what, under the Joint Drug Agreement, counted as a first offense, I suppose how necessary such changes are is an open question.

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.