Friday’s baseball: Phillies agree to terms with Santana
Philadelphia – First baseman Carlos Santana became the first of the offseason’s big-name free agents to find a new home, reportedly agreeing Friday to a $60 million, three-year contract with the Phillies.
The people spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement is contingent on Santana passing a physical.
Santana became the first to reach a deal among the nine free agents who last month rejected $17.4 million qualifying offers from their former teams.
Philadelphia also traded shortstop Freddy Galvis to San Diego for minor league pitcher Enyel De Los Santos, and finalized two-year deals with relievers Tommy Hunter ($18 million) and Pat Neshek ($16.5 million).
Santana, 31, hit 23 home runs with 79 RBIs for Cleveland, where he spent all eight of his big league seasons.
He started as a catcher in 2010 and shifted to first base in 2015.
Santana, who has a .249 career batting average and .445 slugging percentage, is expected to play first base in Philadelphia. Slugger Rhys Hoskins would stay in left field, giving the Phillies a surplus of outfielders to use as trade bait for starting pitching.
Galvis was a finalist for a Gold Glove the past two seasons and hit a career-best 20 homers in 2016.
He was the longest-tenured Phillies player. J.P. Crawford, a first-round pick in the 2013 amateur draft, will take over at shortstop.
Hunter was 3-5 with one save and a 2.61 ERA in 61 appearances last season for Tampa Bay, striking out 64 in 582/3 innings and holding opponents to a .202 batting average.
Neshek was an All-Star for the Phillies this year before he was traded to Colorado.
He went 5-3 with one save and a 1.59 ERA in 71 for the Phillies and Rockies.
Despite finishing last in the NL East at 66-96, the Phillies improved in the second half as young players like Hoskins, Crawford, Nick Williams and Jorge Alfaro joined the lineup. Santana gives the team a power hitter to protect Hoskins. Maikel Franco led the Phillies with 24 homers last season and Hoskins hit 18 in only 50 games.
Cozart to Angels
After spending his entire career at shortstop in Cincinnati, Zack Cozart was willing to switch positions for the chance to join the Angels’ lineup.
Cozart was even willing to switch twice.
The All-Star infielder agreed to a $38 million, three-year contract with the Angels on Friday, also agreeing to play third base in an infield suddenly packed with veteran talent.
“It’s just going to be a fun team to be around,” Cozart said. “(Left fielder Justin) Upton is already texting me. From what I hear about the clubhouse, it seems like it’s my type of team, a bunch of good grinder guys that want to get after it and win.”
Cozart gets $13,666,000 next season and $13,667,000 in each of the final two years of the deal.
With Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons already at shortstop, Angels general manager Billy Eppler initially was interested in signing Cozart to play second base. The free agent said he was amenable to that move, but then Eppler managed to swing a trade to acquire second baseman Ian Kinslerfrom Detroit on Wednesday.
The Angels maintained their pursuit of Cozart, but now to be their third baseman.
“He said, ‘If this is going to help us get into October, I’m all for it,’” Eppler recalled. “That right there made me feel extremely good that not only did we get the right player from an ability standpoint, but we got the right player from a character standpoint.”
Cozart, 32, was a first-time All-Star this year, hitting .297 with 24 homers and 63 RBIs — all career bests.
Around the horn
Reliever Hector Rendon has agreed to a two-year contract with the World Series champion Astros.
The right-hander, 29, spent the last five years with the Cubs, where he went 18-13 with a 3.22 ERA and 77 saves. He went 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA and a career-best 10.83 strikeouts per nine innings last season.
To make room for Rendon on the roster, the Astros designated outfielder Preston Tucker for assignment. Tucker played in 146 games with the Astros from 2015-16, hitting 27 doubles and 17 home runs with 41 RBIs. He spent last season at Triple-A Fresno.
... A defamation lawsuit filed by Pete Rose last year against the lawyer who got him kicked out of baseball has been dismissed.
Federal court documents show Rose’s suit against John Dowd was dismissed Friday.
Dowd investigated Rose for Major League Baseball in 1989.