Consistent with their stated plan to limit his workload this season, the Yankees will skip Phil Hughes in the rotation this week, according to Sweeny Murti of WFAN.
The Yankees will take advantage of scheduled off-days for Thursday and next Monday in order to push Hughes’ next start back until next Tuesday against the Mariners. Hughes was originally on track to start against the Dodgers on Friday.
The 23-year-old right-hander has been one of the best starters in the American League so far this season, exceeding all expectations by amassing 82 1/3 innings over his first 13 starts. That’s an average of 6 1/3 innings per start. Hughes is currently tied with David Price and Clay Buchholz for the American League lead with 10 wins.
As Aaron outlined last month, this plan won’t be as extreme as the way Joba Chamberlain was handled last season. According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, this is the only time Hughes will be skipped before the All-Star break. In other words, there’s no need to panic about this decision. The Yankees aren’t about to disrupt another pitcher’s rhythm, but they’ll surely look to find Hughes rest when they can.
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.