Please, Lupica. Girardi has no choice but to start Pettitte tonight

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I do my best to avoid Mike Lupica whenever possible, but my buddy Jason alerts me to the latest bit of wisdom from the New York Daily News’ alpha dog:

Joe Girardi knows the deal as well as he knows his way out to the mound. He’s right about using only three starters in the postseason if the Yankees win, tonight or tomorrow night. He’s right if Andy Pettitte does the job in Game 6 on three days’ rest that A.J. Burnett didn’t do Monday night. Or he’s right if this thing plays all the way out and CC Sabathia carries everybody across the finish line. Girardi just better be right about three days’ rest for these guys after being up three games to one.

As most of you know, I’m a lawyer by training and trade, and it’s times like these that I wish I could mix the law and baseball. If I could, I’d put Lupica on the stand and cross examine him:

Lawyer: So, Mr. Lupica, is it your position here today that Mr. Girardi should start Mr. Gaudin — who hasn’t pitched in a month — or, say, Mr. Chamberlain in Game Six of the World Series?

Lupica: [mutters something unintelligible]

Lawyer: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your answer, could you speak a little louder so the jury and the court reporter can hear your answer?

Lupica: I said, um, no. Pettitte’s a better choice.

Lawyer: So you’d agree with me, then, that Mr. Girardi is making the right decision to start Mr. Pettitte tonight?

Lupica: Yes.

Lawyer: So, if Mr. Pettitte doesn’t perform, it’s not because of Mr. Girardi’s poor decision, is it?  It’s because of something else such as poor roster construction?

Lupica: Yes

Lawyer: Your honor, at this time I think Mr. Lupica may wish to retract his “Girardi had better be right” statement because such rhetoric is clearly not supported by the witness’ own beliefs.

Of course, I suppose it’s possible that Lupica really does think it’s better to start Chad Gaudin. He doesn’t say either way in his article. Which is a shame, because if he said Gaudin was the man, we’d be able to dismiss Lupica as certifiably insane without going through all of this hassle.

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.