HBT Weekend Wrapup

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Hope you all had a great Fourth of July! In honor of our Nation’s
birthday, I
put my daughter in the cap of a defunct Canadian baseball team

before heading out to the Independence Day parade. And my birthday is on
Bastille Day, so yes, I am a double agent for Francophones the world
over. You got a problem with that?

  • A few weeks ago New York columnists wouldn’t know who R.A. Dickey was if he fell out of the sky landed on their face and started to wiggle. Now he should be an All-Star. Makes sense.
  • Carlos Beltran is coming back July 15th. Anyone with a brain knew this (i.e. after the break) was probably when he’d come back. Didn’t stop Jerry Manuel from telling people he’d be back weeks ago.
  • Not the best outing for Stephen Strasburg. He didn’t have his best stuff and likely pitched himself out of the All-Star Game. I think he was one of the few guys who looked pretty good in those white hats, though, and that has to count for something.
  • Manny Ramirez goes on the disabled list. I like Manny and all, but reporting on his every move seems like something we don’t really need to be doing anymore. In terms of relevance, it’s kind of like talking about the latest Blink 182 record or the next “Lord of the Rings” movie or something.

I’m all screwed up on whether or not today is a holiday. The libraries and banks and government offices are all closed, but my wife is working and my kids’ little day camps are open. Further screwing me up is that fireworks in my little village were Saturday — not yesterday — and the big fireworks in downtown Columbus were Friday — again, not yesterday. Basically, I’ve lost all sense of time, space and the calendar.

Whatever. We’re posting today. How much we post may be impacted by whether or not baseball’s newsmakers consider it a holiday and whether or not my temporal vertigo leads me to say “screw it” and start cracking beers at 2pm.  Either way, we’ll get through this together.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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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.