You know how I feel about open letters, but this one from the editors of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to Pirate owner Bob Nutting is pretty good for the genre:
Dear Mr. Nutting,
Major league sports is a brutal business. What with aggressive
player agents, deep-pocketed competitors and more venues vying for the
public’s entertainment dollar, it is not a pursuit for the faint of
Still, your family has had an ownership stake in the Pirates for 14
years and you’ve been the controlling owner since January 2007. Not
once during the Nuttings’ involvement has the team had a winning
season. The Pirates’ streak of 17 losing campaigns exceeds any run of
futility in the history of professional sports. It is, no doubt, as
frustrating for you as it is for the fans.
The difference between you and the other Pirates faithful, though, is you can do something about it.
The letter goes on to describe the epic-ness of Nutting’s fail, and implores him to call Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle and sell the team already. I’m sure there are countless Pirates fans who nodded in approval as they read this over their Count Chocula this morning.
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.