Bob Nightengale tweets:
Strasburg, who got a $15.1 million guaranteed contract won’t make his MLB debut before 2010, Boras says. Press conference likely on Thursday
Analytical take: this is probably smart, as he pitched a lot of college innings and could use the rest, his presence won’t mean the difference between the Nats having a winning or losing season, and there’s no need for the P.R. bump of having him appear in a game because the Nats got a huge P.R. bump simply by signing him. Heck, if he pitched once in September and got shelled, it could even be anti-P.R. Better to put his picture on the envelope of next year’s season ticket renewal letters as an unsullied and potentially-perfect product.
Cynical take: Now that the Nats know they can work with Scott Boras and live to tell the tale, there’s no WAY they want to win any more games than they have to and thus lose out on the Bryce Harper derby to Kansas City or San Diego or someone.
UPDATE: A second Nightengale tweet has Boras saying that Strasburg may not even pitch in the big leagues next year. Whatever. As of 11:58 last night, Boras doesn’t control too terribly much about Strasburg’s future, so while I agree with Boras that it may be in everyone’s best interests for Strasburg to be brought along slowly, I don’t give the Nats’ management enough credit to see beyond the increase in ticket sales that would result from him being in the Washington rotation in 2010. Maybe in June or July 2010, but if he’s not pitching in major league games next year, I’ll eat my hat.
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.