I’ll believe it when I see it — I feel like it’s going to take a big injury for Puig to be anything less than a race car in the red, in every sense of the term — but Dylan Hernandez reports that the Dodgers are working on slowing down Yasiel Puig:
“The fans go to the stadium to enjoy themselves,” Puig said in Spanish. “After work, they spend their free time watching us play. We have to do our best to entertain them.”
Puig did that last season with a hair-raising style of play, electrifying crowds in becoming one of baseball’s top draws as a rookie. However, Puig also acknowledges he has to be more restrained on the field, admitting he has to be smarter on the bases and learn when to hit the cutoff man rather than throw directly to the plate from right field.
I like that Puig acknowledges that he’s an entertainer. I feel like baseball would be more fun if more players felt that way. But yeah, hitting the cutoff man kind of matters. As does not chasing balls a foot out of the strike zone.
If he can manage to stay intense and fun while refining his game, he’ll be the biggest thing ever. If he just does one or the other he’ll still be worth watching, even if he’s got issues. If he ratchets things back and doesn’t improve, man, snoozeville.
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.