Here are highlights from the latest from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:
- Ervin Santana of the Twins could soon become a sought-after trade target due to his talent, experience and affordability, one AL scout opines. Santana makes just $13.5MM this season and next, with a $14MM option that can vest under certain conditions. Jose Quintana attracted plenty of attention over the offseason, but Santana should emerge as a big name too if the Twins make him available — which they haven’t yet, according to Cafardo.
- Slugger Ryan Howard would like to continue playing, but has not yet received any opportunities, Cafardo writes. Howard did, of course, struggle through most of the past several seasons in Philadelphia, and he batted just .196 last year. He did hit 25 home runs in 362 plate appearances and bat .262/.324/.608 in the second half. It appears there aren’t any teams out there swayed by those numbers, however.
- Thanks to Allen Craig ($11MM) and Rusney Castillo ($10.5MM), the Red Sox’ affiliate in Pawtucket will have the largest Triple-A payroll ever. Neither are on the 40-man roster. Craig played sparingly for Pawtucket last year and hasn’t appeared in the big leagues since 2015; he’s in what should be the last year of the $31MM contract he signed with St. Louis prior to the 2013 campaign. The Red Sox will almost certainly pay him a $1M buyout on his 2018 option once the season is over. Castillo was outrighted last season and is still owed $46MM through 2020.
- Nationals manager Dusty Baker, whose two-year contract with the club expires after the 2017 season, says he would like to continue managing beyond that. (As of last week, there weren’t any pending extension talks between Baker and the Nats.) On an unrelated note, Baker also shares his take on whether a manager can tell whether his team will be good or bad at this point in the season. “There are too many variables like injuries and different things that happen in players’ lives,” he says. “One thing though, you know when you have a bad team. When you leave spring training you know when you have a bad team and you know when you have a good team. Just hard to predict how good sometimes.”
- Former star closer Jonathan Papelbon still hasn’t decided whether he’s going to keep playing, Cafardo writes. Papelbon didn’t sign this winter while dealing with a family matter.