Congress is butting into baseball again. This time: tobacco

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tobacco.jpgCan someone tell me why Congress has nothing better to do than this?

MLBPA chief labor counsel David Prouty is among
the witnesses who submitted written testimony ahead of Wednesday’s
hearing before a House subcommittee about the use of smokeless tobacco
by baseball players. Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone, a New Jersey Democrat, says he wants to know why smokeless tobacco is banned in the minors but allowed in the majors.

Smoking, chewing and dipping is beyond stupid, no one should do it and if I was running baseball I’d consider every possible means at my disposal to keep players from doing it. But contrary to the way everyone acts in this country, it’s still legal, ballplayers are still adults and as long as they’re not harming anyone else with it Congress should keep the heck out of the matter.

And before anyone offers the most obvious retort, allow me to note that my wife and I are raising our kids ourselves. We’re not depending on ballplayers to do it, and we certainly don’t need Congress to do it either.  If my boy sees a ballplayer with a chaw in and asks me what he’s doing I’m going to be honest and say “He’s being stupid, son. Many adults, even the athletes, can be very, very stupid at times.”

Suggestion to Subcommittee chairman Frank Pallone: Go fix the financial sector or the elections laws or the environment and let the shortstop dip his Copenhagen and get jaw cancer and everything in peace.

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.