John Farrell to get fined for being critical of instant replay

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When Major League Baseball finally approved instant replay, a strong message was sent along with it, both through official channels and unofficial channels in the form of background comments to many reporters writing replay stories.

That message? It’s a work in progress. Baseball is being deliberate because it wants to get things right. If things don’t go smoothly, we’ll adjust. We’ll listen to managers and players and umpires and do our best to tweak the system.

That’s a smart message! It’s also one that is being undermined by fining people who are critical of replay. As baseball is apparently going to do to John Farrell. From the Daily News:

Joe Torre, MLB’s executive VP of baseball operations, told the Daily News on Monday that Farrell would be fined for his critical remarks about baseball’s new replay system following Boston’s 3-2 loss Sunday night.

The comments, which included Farrell saying “it’s hard to have any faith in the (replay) system,” came after instant replay decisions went against the Sox in losses on Saturday and Sunday.

Farrell didn’t say it was corrupt. He didn’t say it was a failure. He voiced his frustration with a system that has not been perfect out of the gate.  While I’m sure Major League Baseball would prefer such criticisms to be a bit more constructive and a lot more private, fining someone for stating the bleedin’ obvious like Farrell did is not exactly on all fours with the message about wanting feedback about their sure-to-be-tweaked work-in-progress.

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.