UPDATE: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that Trembley may have been fired this evening. That wouldn’t be a shock, given that the media has known about his fate for close to eight hours now.
3:41pm: The move has been rumored for a while now, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are expected to fire manager Dave Trembley following this afternoon’s game against the Yankees.
According to Connolly, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is expected to meet with Trembley when the team returns to Baltimore tonight and will likely name third base coach Juan Samuel as the interim manager prior to the home series against the Red Sox that begins tomorrow.
Barring a comeback this afternoon the Orioles will be on an eight-game losing streak and have the worst record in all of baseball at 15-39. Since taking over the team midway through the 2007 season Trembley is 187-283, for a .398 winning percentage that trails only Manny Acta (.384) among active managers with at least two seasons of experience and ranks as the 12th-worst mark of all time.
Much like Trey Hillman in Kansas City there’s little reason to think Trembley deserves to keep the job, but the organization’s problems extend well beyond him. Baltimore hasn’t had a winning season since way back in 1997–when Brian Matusz was 10 years old and both Adam Jones and Matt Wieters were 11–and Trembley’s replacement will be the Orioles’ sixth different manager during that time.
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.