* Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com, on Eric Wedge’s odd lineup
last night: “Entering tonight, [Shin-Soo] Choo had started 91 of the
Indians’ 94 games this season. He hadn’t been out of the starting
lineup since way back on May 29. Tonight, the Rogers Centre is
celebrating Korean Heritage Night. Presumably, there will be quite a
few Koreans on-hand. If nothing else, there are a handful of Korean
media members here. No one told Wedge. Because, naturally, Choo has the
night off.” Choo, of course, is the most prominent Korean-born baseball
player in the world.
* Jason Schmidt wasn’t very impressive Monday night in his first start since 2007, but was apparently good enough to get another chance this weekend. I’ll set the over/under on runs allowed against the Marlins at 5 1/2.
* He’s only been with the team for a couple weeks, but this picture of Jeff Francoeur from last night’s game basically encapsulates the Mets’ entire season.
* Longtime major leaguer Kevin Mench won’t be back
with the Hanshin Tigers after hitting .148 and “dealing with fatigue
and anxiety issues” during his first (and perhaps last) season in
* Daniel Monson of MLive.com sat down for an interview with all-time announcing great Ernie Harwell, who’s still going strong at the age of 91.
* Alyson Footer digs up some old photos
from a “wives gala” that the Astros held nearly 20 years ago, complete
with shots of Casey Candaele break dancing and lots of 1990s hair.
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.