In his “10 questions” piece for MLB.com, T.R. Sullivan writes that the Rangers are in the market for backstops:
1. What will happen with the catching situation?
The Rangers will bring in at least one and possibly two veteran
catchers to push Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden. The
Rangers clearly have concerns about Saltalamacchia’s right shoulder and
they clearly have doubts that Teagarden is ready for everyday duty.
Rod Barajas, Yorvit Torrealba,
Bengie Molina and Miguel Olivo are the “best available” catchers, and I put that
in quotes for obvious reasons, but all four are believed to be seeking
multi-year contracts. Instead, Sullivan sees the Rangers going after
secondary options like Jose Molina, Michael Barrett and Mike Redmond.
He also mentions Josh Bard as a possibility, however he signed a minor
league deal with the Mariners earlier this week. Devastating news, I
know, but Jon Daniels will just have to pick up the pieces and move on.
Update: Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com reports that the Rangers have shown interest in Dioner Navarro of the Rays. Navarro was a non-tender candidate last month before he agreed to a one-year, $2.1 million contract.
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.