We in the blogosphere get a lot of mileage out of ripping on print journalists, but Spink Award winner Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily news is one of the truly good ones. He knows baseball — specifically Reds’ baseball — better than you know your children, and unlike so many other writers who seem to have lost their love of the game years ago, McCoy’s enthusiasm was still apparent even after thirty-seven years on the beat.
Unfortunately, there will not be a year thirty-eight:
The newspaper told me today that it will no longer cover the Cincinnati Reds the same way it has in the past, beginning next season. And don’t blame the paper. It is the economic times and we’re all suffering. They just can’t afford the more than a quarter of a million dollars a year to send me coast-to-coast . . .
. . . Right now I’m on the back patio, enjoying a Tanqueray and tonic with my beautiful and supportive wife, Nadine. I’m sure it is the first of many tonight, so I wanted to get this down before I became incoherent.
Though McCoy is 68, he has not lost his fastball, and seeing a good guy like this be put out to pasture is sad indeed.
I understand the economics of it all, but losing guys like this is going to make understanding what’s happening and why with Reds baseball all the more difficult and all the less enjoyable.
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.