Ordonez will be back in Detroit next season, making $18 million

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Magglio Ordonez had a terrible first half, hitting just .260/.330/.343 with four homers in 71 games, at which point there was speculation about whether the Tigers would keep him on the bench enough in the second half to guarantee that his playing time-based option for 2010 wouldn’t be triggered.
While he’s been far from an everyday player since then, Ordonez has played in 39 of 50 games since the All-Star break while hitting .336 and the Tigers have pulled away from the pack in the AL Central to all but wrap up the division title after finishing in last place a year ago. Ordonez now needs just 23 more plate appearances to trigger next season’s $18 million option.
As general manager Dave Dombrowski put it yesterday: “It all speaks for itself, what’s taking place at this point.” In other words, the Tigers obviously have no interest in paying $18 million for a 36-year-old corner outfielder with a .750 OPS, but Ordonez’s second-half turnaround and the team’s success made it tough to do anything about it. Not benching him has helped the Tigers go 27-23 in the second half while extending their division lead to 6.5 games.
On the other hand, given how awful the rest of the AL Central is this season the Tigers almost certainly could have won the division without Ordonez’s strong second half and shedding his $18 million salary for next year would have been awfully nice. It would’ve been interesting to see how the whole situation played out had Ordonez hit, say, .286 in the second half rather than .336.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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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.