I agree with Craig that signing Chan Ho Park for just $1.2 million is a very good deal for the Yankees. He has a 3.29 ERA and 101/44 K/BB ratio in 120 innings as a reliever over the past two seasons and at the very least can be a good second-tier setup man behind either Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain.
Park was available at such a discount because earlier this offseason he turned down a one-year deal worth $3.25 million to re-sign with the Phillies, who then used that money on Danys Baez instead. Once returning to Philadelphia was no longer an option Park was apparently left to choose between lesser offers from the Cubs and Nationals, until his asking price dropped enough that the Yankees swooped in. Here’s Park to explain his decision:
I was deliberating on the Cubs and the Yankees, but their history and championship contention resulted in me picking the Yankees. Until last night, I was leaning toward the Cubs. I wanted to play for a champion-caliber team this year again. I am not certain how much longer I will play baseball, but it will be huge experience and memory to play with the Yankees.
Park has earned approximately $85 million in salary during his 16-season career, so the Nationals probably never had a chance.
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.