Ken Rosenthal has set the Phillies’ little corner of the Twitterverse a-tweeting by suggesting — based on word from “major league sources” — that the Phillies could shop Jayson Werth mid-season. This is one of those things, though, in which the caveat basically swallows up the rumor. The caveat: “if the Phillies somehow fall out of contention.”
While I’m sure one’s definition of “fall out of contention” varies, I don’t see how that could realistically apply to the Phillies before the trade deadline. They’re four games back as we speak. Only two games out of the Wild Card. They’re playing a Braves team that is banged up and is doing things like trotting out an outfield consisting of Melky Cabrera, Omar Infante and Gregor Blanco, and they’re doing it at home. At the end of the week the two teams they’re behind will play each other. It’s just as likely that they’ll gain ground before the break as lose ground.
After the break they have just over two full weeks before the deadline with over half of those games coming against losing teams. Yes, it’s possible that they’ll lose 14 of 17 or something while the Mets and Braves surge, but that’s not likely either. My guess is that, at worst, they’ll be around the same place they are now. Maybe four or five games back. At worst. That’s certainly not “out of contention” territory.
Someone better versed in waiver-trade-fu than me can correct me if I’m wrong, but given that Werth is (a) good; and (b) about to become a free agent, the odds of him making it through waivers seem pretty small (i.e. there’s not some big contract to scare teams away). That means the Phillies aren’t like to match up with any optimum trade partners if they want to make an August deal.
All of this leads to me thinking that the odds of the Phillies actually trading Jayson Werth are infinitesimal. It’s enough to get Rosenthal a little chatter, but ultimately nothing is going to happen.
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.