John Buck passed through waivers unclaimed after being designated for assignment by the Mariners last week and the veteran catcher has been released.
Buck was only owed about $500,000 for the remainder of this season, so any team that felt like he’d be an upgrade behind the plate, even in a backup role, could have claimed that contract off waivers rather than trying to sign him now as a free agent.
But the 33-year-old hit just .226 with one homer and a .579 OPS in 27 games for Seattle, hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2010 when he made the All-Star team with Toronto, and reportedly frustrated the Mariners with his poor defense. He figures to latch on somewhere as a backup, but it might take a stint at Triple-A first.
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.