Royals prospect Kyle Zimmer shut down for two months

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As if the Yordano Ventura news wasn’t enough to ruin every Royals fan’s day, now top prospect and 2012 fifth overall pick Kyle Zimmer has been shut down for 6-8 weeks with a strained lat muscle.

Zimmer hasn’t seen any game action this season and Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that when he finally started to throw against live hitters in extended spring training last week “Zimmer felt tightness” and “his velocity dipped to 89 mph.”

Zimmer finished last season on a high note by posting a 1.93 ERA in four starts at Double-A, ranking as a consensus top 50 prospect and potentially clearing the way for a first-half debut for the Royals, but now it seems unlikely that he’ll reach the majors at all this season and getting cleared for minor-league games is no sure thing either.

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.