Mariano Rivera has been a major league pitcher since 1995. In those 15 years, I can recall exactly zero instances of him being critical of someone in the press. The man does his job, takes a shower, goes home and does it again the next day and doesn’t let the petty affairs of the mere mortals around him disturb him in any way whatsoever. So when he spoke with the New York Post about Joe West’s intemperate bleatings yesterday, it was definitely notable:
“It’s incredible. If he has places to go, let
him do something else. What does he want us to do, swing at balls? He has a job to do. He should do his job. We don’t want
to play four-hour games but that’s what it takes. We respect and love
the fans and do what we have to do and that’s play our game.”
Joe West might have a point about game length, but (a) it’s his job to try and do something about it; (b) he could start by calling strikes strikes instead of squeezing everyone like he does; and (c) regardless of any of that, he was way, way out of line in going public with his complaints about the Yankees and the Red Sox. If he’s got a problem with them he should take it to the Commissioner’s Office, and in no event should he — a freakin’ umpire crew chief — be ripping teams in the press.
I hope West is disciplined for his wrong-place, wrong-time comments yesterday, and I hope that Major League Baseball makes that discipline public, just as it would do for any player or manager who went after the umpires. Integrity is a two-way street, and if it’s improper for players to questions an umpire’s integrity, it’s improper for an umpire to do the same of the players over whom he has considerable power.
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.