According to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com, the Cubs have signed utility man Brent Lillibridge and outfielder Darnell McDonald to minor league contracts. Both will get invites to major league spring training.
Lillibridge, 29, batted just .199/.250/.274 with three homers, 13 stolen bases and a .524 OPS in 209 plate appearances last season between the White Sox, Red Sox and Indians. However, he’s capable of playing everywhere and socked 13 homers as recently as 2011.
McDonald batted .214 (18-for-84) with two homers in 38 games with the Red Sox last season and went 0-for-4 in a brief stint with the Yankees. The 34-year-old owns a .778 OPS over 431 plate appearances against left-handed pitching in the majors and clearly still has a fan in Cubs president Theo Epstein.
In today’s column for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal reports that the Phillies are “shopping the hell” out of first baseman Carlos Santana, according to a rival executive. Doing so would allow the Phillies to move Rhys Hoskins back to first base and open up a spot in the outfield for free agent Bryce Harper, with whom the Phillies have been commonly connected.
Santana, 32, is coming off of a mediocre season in which he hit .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI in 679 plate appearances. His 1.7 WAR, per Baseball Reference, was his lowest output since 2015. He has $35 million remaining on his contract. The Phillies would presumably eat a significant portion of that $35 million in order to make a trade work.
If the Phillies can’t move Santana but still end up signing Harper, Santana could share third base with Maikel Franco and first with Hoskins. Right now, the Phillies have a glut of outfielders with Hoskins, Odúbel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Hoskins rated among the worst outfielders defensively in 2018, so moving him back to first base is likely one of the Phillies’ bigger priorities.