The Yankees and Damon are totally splitsville

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No matter how many times we heard the reports that the Yankees were going to stick to a budget and couldn’t give more than a couple million bucks to Johnny Damon, you always got the sense that those two kids would make it work. After all, just because the Yankees allegedly have a budget doesn’t mean they don’t have the money. And hey, they made Andy Pettitte cool his heels until late January last year, so maybe they’re doing the same thing with old Johnny D.

But now it really does seem over:

“Don’t bother paying attention,” general manager Brian Cashman said of
chatter linking the Yankees and Damon. “Johnny’s physical abilities
exceed our financial abilities at this point in time.”

Damon’s
agent, Scott Boras, was unavailable for comment. Meanwhile, reached by
text message on Tuesday night, Damon also said talks never got off the
ground since the Yankees’ mid-December acquisition of Nick Johnson.

“Never started again,” Damon said of any negotiations. “They have their budget.”

Yankees
manager Joe Girardi refused to rule out a return, though he expressed
his doubts candidly: “I don’t see it getting done.”

Boras was unavailable for comment? The fact that even he can’t figure out a way to spin this situation may be the most revealing thing I’ve heard in weeks.

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.