As John Shipley at the Pioneer Press notes, it’s been a bad few months for Alexi Casilla. I believe that the technical term for his performance at the plate in 2009 is “butt.” Then the Twins signed Jim Thome, who took his uniform number. Then they signed Orlando Hudson who took his job. But at least he was compensated for the number thing:
First Orlando Hudson took his job, then Jim Thome took his number. At least Thome gave him a Rolex. “A very nice watch,” Alexi Casilla assures us . . .
. . . When Thome, a likely hall of famer with 564 career
home runs, was acquired this winter, Casilla surrendered his No. 25 to
the former Twins nemesis — happily, he said. Now Casilla wears No. 12,
the number he wore as he helped lead his team to the Dominican finals
Given where Casila is these days — it’s not inconceivable that he’ll be cut loose by the Twins — you wonder if Thome should have saved his money and just waited things out.
Still, I love the whole shadow economy of uniform numbers. A couple of years ago Morgan Ensberg was turned down when he offered Wilson Betemit $5,000 for number 14 on the Yankees. Giants’ punter Jeff Feagles was the Warren Buffett of this biz, once demanding — and receiving — an outdoor kitchen in his vacation home in Phoenix in exchange for giving up his number 17 to Plaxico Burress. Before that he got a family vacation to Florida from Eli Manning for giving up number 10.
If I was on the Red Sox I’d jump on number 23 now in anticipation of that big Adrian Gonzalez windfall. Joey Gathright and Adam LaRoche shared it last year, so I think it’s available.
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.