USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported Tuesday morning that the Diamondbacks “currently plan to bring back” manager Kirk Gibson next season.
But the club’s new chief baseball officer — Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa — is now denying that anything has been decided on the Gibson front.
“I just think that at this point, we’re at August 18,” La Russa relayed through a spokesman to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. “I’ve been around three months, I’ve observed a lot, talked to and met with a lot of people in the organization. I have a much better idea. I just think the official comment is, we’re at August 18, the season is a month and 10 days from being over. So it won’t be long until you have to trot out your plan.”
There was speculation when La Russa was hired in mid-May that he would want to clear house, and that may still be the case. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers is also thought to be on the hot seat.
Arizona entered play Tuesday with a 43-72 record — 16 1/2 games back in the National League West.
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.