* It wasn’t quite as eventful as Carlos Zambrano’s implosion yesterday, but this afternoon’s Twins-Red Sox game just saw home-plate umpire Todd Tichenor eject both starting catchers and both managers in the same inning, about five minutes apart.
Mike Redmond and Ron Gardenire were tossed in the top of the seventh
after a borderline call at the plate went against the Twins and in the
bottom of the frame Jason Varitek and Terry Francona were thrown out
when Josh Beckett didn’t like the strike zone. Beckett avoided
Tichenor’s wrath despite screaming obscenities from the mound by
smartly turning his back and walking toward second base while Varitek
took up the fight.
* The White Sox may not be ready to call up Gordon Beckham yet, but they did promote him to Triple-A yesterday. Beckham’s final line at Double-A: .299/.366/.497 with four homers, 17 doubles, and a 24/14 K/BB ratio in 38 games.
* It took 180 plate appearances, but Bobby Abreu finally hit his first homer
of the season. Now that Abreu and David Ortiz are both off the schneid,
Russell Martin is the closest thing to a power hitter among the 17 guys
who’re still homerless with at least 100 trips to the plate.
* Now that David Price is in the Rays’ rotation and Matt Wieters is
due to arrive in Baltimore tomorrow, can Braves right-hander Tommy
Hanson be very far behind?
* Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com projects the first 20 picks of this year’s draft, which is less than two weeks away. You’ll be absolutely shocked who he has as the No. 1 pick.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.