Orioles sign former top-10 pick Matt LaPorta

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Former first-round pick Matt LaPorta, whose career was derailed by multiple injuries, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Orioles.

Baltimore previously signed Delmon Young to a minor-league deal and they’re similar enough as right-handed bats and defensively challenged corner outfielders/first basemen that it could end up being a competition for one bench spot.

LaPorta was the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft out of the University of Florida and was billed as being close to MLB ready, but he’s hit just .238 with 31 homers and a .694 OPS in 291 career games. Once a top-30 prospect on Baseball America‘s list in back-to-back years, he mostly struggled at Triple-A last season as a 28-year-old.

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.