After dealing outfielder Norichika Aoki to the Royals in December, the Brewers were left without an ideal option for the leadoff spot, but manager Ron Roenicke has settled on his choice.
According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Roenicke announced today that Carlos Gomez will hit leadoff to begin the year. Jean Segura, who will now bat No. 2, was under consideration for the role along with Scooter Gennett and Rickie Weeks.
Gomez is coming off a monster campaign in which he hit .284/.338/.506 with 24 home runs, 73 RBI, and 40 stolen bases in 147 games. However, he needed a career-high .344 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) to get there and walked just 6.3 percent of the time while striking out in nearly one-fourth of his trips to the plate. Banking on a comparable follow-up is risky, so the odds are against him being a major asset there. But hey, the Brewers don’t have a perfect option right now.
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.