Yesterday Matthew made reference to Justin Duchscherer’s struggle with clinical depression. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick goes deep on it in this feature story:
Even as Duchscherer’s baseball career blossomed, his personal life
began to unravel. He separated from his wife, Michele, in April 2007,
and their four-year marriage officially ended in late 2008. The ordeal
dredged up unresolved issues from Duchscherer’s parents’ divorce when
he was 10, and led to feelings of guilt and shame.
The strain of
a ballplayer’s life didn’t help. Since he’s on the road eight months a
year and Evan lives in New Jersey with his mother, Duchscherer sees his
son sporadically. During the 2008 season, he was able to channel his
anguish over his failed marriage into his pitching, but he didn’t have
that luxury this year. When the A’s broke camp in April, Duchscherer
stayed behind in Arizona to focus on his rehab. The more time he spent
alone, the more he missed Evan and dwelled on his shortcomings as a
husband and a father.
Thankfully it looks like Duchscherer is turning the corner and retaking control of his life and career. The story, however, is a great read and a poignant reminder of the kinds of pressures ballplayers face, almost always beyond the notice of the common fan.
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.