“Let’s be ready for the triple play,” Ian Kinsler told rookie infielder Jeimer Candelario on Friday. “Let’s do the triple play.” In the sixth inning of Friday’s 5-4 squeaker over the Blue Jays, with runners on first and second, the Tigers finally got their chance. Kevin Pillar smoked a ball to the third-base line, catching Candelario square in the mitt as he retired Justin Smoak and fired the ball to Ian Kinsler at second. Kinsler gloved the ball ahead of Kendrys Morales, then airmailed it to Efren Navarro to catch Pillar seconds before he touched the first base bag.
While the feat was a first for infielders Candelario and Navarro, it was the second such play for Ian Kinsler. The first, strangely enough, was a 4-6-6 maneuver against the Tigers in 2009.
The Tigers hadn’t turned a triple play in 16 years, when Damion Easley, Deivi Cruz and Shane Halter executed a 4-6-3 versus the visiting 2001 Mariners. On Friday, their timing couldn’t have been better, as the Blue Jays came within a run of tying the game after Kendrys Morales’ RBI single in the sixth. Richard Urena and Jose Bautista added a pair of homers in the eighth inning, but Ian Kinsler’s seventh-inning solo shot ended up being the only lead Detroit needed for their 60th win of the season.
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.