After an MRI exam and trip to see Dr. James Andrews in Alabama, Scott Olsen has opted for season-ending shoulder surgery. However, as Chico Harlan of the Washington Post
explains the good news is that Olsen’s left labrum is only partially
torn and the surgery could enable him to be ready for spring training.
By comparison a fully torn labrum would’ve meant more than a year of
recovery and rehab, at which point there would be plenty of questions
about Olsen’s stuff bouncing back. Instead team doctor Wiemi Douoguih
seems confident that the surgery won’t be career-threatening, opining
that “there’s a 90-percent likelihood this will just be a clean-up
procedure.” Here’s more from the man who’ll be cutting Olsen open:
What it appears is that he’s got a small tear of the labrum. The
rotator cuff looks to be in good condition. Nine times out of ten this
is just a clean-up procedure, with the idea that they’re back to being
competition-ready in three months. And that’s the goal here. Every once
in a while you go in and find something a little more extensive.
If it’s just a clean-up procedure it’s probably three months before
he’s back to being competition-ready. If it’s more extensive it could
be pushed back later. That’s part of the reason we want to take care of
that now for him, so it doesn’t encroach on spring training of next
Of course, even if Olsen comes back healthy there are still plenty of
questions about his long-term outlook. Setting aside the ugly 6.03 ERA
that he posted in 11 starts after being traded to Washington this
winter, Olsen came into the season at 31-37 with a 4.63 ERA, mediocre
strikeout rate, and poor control in 101 career starts. His velocity has
declined from the low-90s to high-80s, he’ll be 26 years old before
throwing his next pitch, and is about to get expensive via arbitration.
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.