Yet another umpire has acknowledged blowing a call against the Tigers.
Manager Jim Leyland said Sunday that home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom admitted making an error just hours after ringing up Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon on a called third strike Friday. The error spoiled a bases-loaded opportunity in the ninth inning as Detroit fell to the NL East-leading Braves.
The Peter Moylan pitch was clearly outside, and Cederstrom recognized that in a chat on the phone with Leyland late Friday night.
“I kicked it,” the ump told Leyland. “I knew it right away.”
Tigers starter Armando Galarraga had a perfect game stripped from his grasp in early June when umpire Jim Joyce blew a close call at the first base bag on what would have been the 27th and final out. But, hey, at least the Tigers won that game.
Cederstrom made the controversial call Friday in a bases-loaded, full count situation, and with the Tigers trailing the Braves 4-3. A walk would have tied the game. These mistakes will continue to happen, of course, until Major League Baseball decides to expand its use of instant replay.
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.