Mauer wins AL MVP with 27 of 28 first-place votes

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Only a stray first-place vote for Miguel Cabrera kept Joe Mauer from being a unanimous pick for AL MVP by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Mark Teixeira finished runner-up, with Yankees teammate Derek Jeter placing third, and Cabrera finished fourth while somehow convincing one professional baseball writer that he was the league’s best player.
For a full breakdown of the voting, click here.
Mauer certainly deserved a unanimous selection for putting together one of the greatest seasons by a catcher in the history of baseball. After spending all of April on the disabled list, he hit .365 for the highest mark ever by a catcher and captured his third batting title in four seasons.
He also smacked 28 homers and drew 76 walks to lead the AL in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, becoming the first catcher to ever win the sabermetric triple crown (AVG, OBP, SLG) and the first AL player from any position to do so since George Brett in 1980.
For someone to hit .365/.444/.587 in 606 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove defense over nearly 1,000 innings at the game’s most demanding position is a truly historic season.
Mauer previously finished sixth in 2006 and fourth in 2008 despite deserving more MVP support each time, so adding significant power to his repertoire this season clearly made a huge difference for the voters (everyone but Keizo Konishi of the Kyodo News, that is). He’s the first catcher to win AL MVP since Ivan Rodriguez in 1999 and follows Justin Morneau, Zoilo Versalles, Harmon Killebrew, and Rod Carew as the Twins’ fifth MVP.

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.