Athletics may look to bolster starting rotation through a trade

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As Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle points out, the back of the Athletics’ starting rotation has been a problem in the first month-plus of the season. The top three in the rotation — Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, and Jesse Chavez — are a combined 16-2, Slusser writes, while everyone else (Dan Straily, Tommy Milone, Josh Lindblom) is 2-9.

Slusser adds that the A’s may deal from depth to address the rotation, citing catcher John Jaso as an example of someone who could be moved. Jaso has been platooning with Derek Norris behind the plate and both have gotten off to good starts. Jaso has a .758 OPS, but Norris currently owns an impressive 1.006 OPS himself.

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.