Diamondbacks top prospect and 2007 first-round pick Jarrod Parker met with Dr. James Andrews yesterday for his four-month checkup following Tommy John elbow surgery and was cleared to begin a throwing program.
Parker has been blogging about the whole rehab process and had this to say after receiving the good news from Andrews:
Being away from the game for the months I have been has really opened my eyes to the things that are taken for granted. Taking ground balls on the mound, going through bunt plays, shagging batting practice and just being a part of the clubhouse. Okay maybe I take that back about shagging BP, but I enjoy running around like a little kid and shagging like an outfielder is fun to me!
He’s definitely someone to root for, but there’s a long way from beginning a throwing program to appearing in a game and Parker stated that his goal is simply “to pitch somewhere this season.”
That likely means a few token appearances in the low minors late in the season and there’s definitely a strong chance that he won’t pitch at all in 2010, yet Parker still ranked 21st on MLB.com’s list of baseball’s best prospects and topped the Diamondbacks’ list at Baseball America.
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.