Shaun Marcum has exceeded expectations in his return from Tommy John surgery, going 7-4 with a 3.44 ERA and 88/27 K/BB ratio in 107 innings after missing all of last season, but unfortunately the Blue Jays placed him on the disabled list today with more elbow problems.
The good news is that general manager Alex Anthopoulos downplayed the seriousness of the injury, saying Marcum likely could have avoided the DL and missed just one start if the Blue Jays weren’t interested in being “overly cautious”:
It’s not really a concern for us. Shaun would be the first guy to tell you that he’s fine. He said he went through this last year where he stopped throwing for a week and then he was right back at it and he was fine. Like I told Shaun, and I told him this in spring training, too, I said, “Look, we’re going to be overly cautious with you. You know how important you are and you know how good you are.” We expect to have him back right after the break.
Marcum leads the league with 17 starts and is on pace for nearly 220 innings, so even if his elbow hadn’t started barking again giving him some time off probably would have been a good idea anyway.
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.