Athletics pick up Jeff Francis off of waivers from the Reds

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Jeff Francis was designated for assignment by the Reds on Friday after starting the second half of Thursday’s double-header against the Padres. The left-hander has been claimed off of waivers by the Athletics, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The team will announce it after Sunday’s game against the Indians.

Aside from the one start with the Reds, Francis had spent the 2014 season with Triple-A Louisville. There, he posted a 3.33 ERA with a 45/12 K/BB ratio in 48 2/3 innings over eight starts. Francis was converted into a reliever by the Rockies in the second half of the 2013 season after posting poor results out of the rotation. The A’s will use him as a long man out of the bullpen and as a spot starter, if necessary.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Athletics placed infielder Jake Elmore on the 60-day disabled list. To make room on the 25-man roster, the Athletics optioned pitcher Joe Savery to Triple-A Sacramento.

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.