Yesterday reader Jack Marshall said what I thought slamming ESPN’s focus on the Manny Ramirez storyline to exclusion of, you know, the baseball game being played between the Dodgers and Red Sox on Sunday night. Last night, in an interview with WEEI’s Sam Dykstra, Peter Gammons agreed.
When asked whether it doesn’t make sense that there is still a pretty strong Manny Ramirez fascination in Boston, he said “I guess so” but added “I’m not celebrity-driven. I tend to be baseball-driven so it
really didn’t fascinate me at all.” Gammons took a more direct swipe at the Worldwide leader, debunking the notion that David Ortiz misses having Manny Ramirez in the lineup, saying “that whole story is a fable that people on ESPN like to tell.”
He then went on to list all of the reasons why fixating on Manny Ramirez makes little sense, including the fact that he’s just not a special player anymore. Indeed, Gammons said that if you take away the post-trade, pre-suspension time with the Dodgers, he’s basically been Billy Butler for the past four years. An interesting guy on some level, and likely a Hall of Famer, but not worthy of the hype in 2010.
I couldn’t be in greater agreement with Gammons on this point. The biggest problem with nationally televised baseball these days is the obsession with cramming dramatic narratives and storylines into the proceedings, likely on the assumption that a sporting event in and of itself is not enough to hold the fan’s interest.
Make a note of the guy’s tenure in Boston during his first at bat. Put up a little factoid graphic if you must. But then let it freakin’ go.
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.