Big Hurt set to call it a career

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Frank Thomas, who last played with the Blue Jays and Athletics in 2008, will announce his retirement on Friday, sources told MLB.com.
The 41-year-old Thomas finishes his career with 521 home runs.
Also a tight end in college, Thomas was the seventh overall pick in the 1989 MLB draft out of Auburn. In 16 years with the White Sox, he went to five All-Star Games, won two MVP awards and led the AL in OPS four times. Unfortunately, injuries hampered him more and more towards the end of his stay and he left on poor terms with the team after playing in just 34 games in 2005.
In 2006, at age 38, he had a bounce-back season with Oakland, hitting .270 with 39 homers and 114 RBI to finish fourth in the MVP voting. He was productive again with the Blue Jays in 2007, but he got off to a poor start in 2008 and Toronto released him for financial purposes. He returned to Oakland for what ended up being the last stop of his career and hit .263/.354/.387 in 55 games.
Thomas is a clear Hall of Famer on performance, even if he contributed little with the glove. He finishes his career with a .301 average, a .419 OBP and a .555 slugging percentage. His 974 OPS ranks 15th all-time, and he’s 18th on the homer list. Unfortunately, he didn’t have all that much of a chance to add to his record in the postseason. He excelled in two of his four series, but he ended on a very poor note, going 0-for-13 in the 2006 ALCS as the A’s lost to the Tigers. He was a career .224/.441/.429 hitter with three homers and five RBI in 49 postseason at-bats.

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.