I missed this from late last week, but Mark Cuban — who has been denying any interest in the Rangers for a solid year now — has changed course and may now get involved in the upcoming auction:
“The economics have changed, which has gotten me interested. My lawyers are still going through everything, but the bigger point is that I now have an interest . . . As I learn more I will have a better understanding about how aggressively I will pursue the interest and whether or not I will actually make a bid come the first week of August or whenever the court sets the date for bids.”
The most interesting thing in the article are the quotes from anonymous insiders who say that Cuban is “approvable” in the eyes of Major League Baseball. While he was in on the Cubs bid a couple of years ago, there has long been a belief that Major League Baseball wants no part of him. He’s outspoken. He spends a lot of his own money. He blogs. He’s the kind of guy who Selig and his buddies simply don’t care for.
But he’s also no dummy. He suggests in the article that his interest may not be solely to bid for the team itself. Rather, he’d consider getting in on Greenberg and Ryan’s bid somehow, maybe as a “backstop.” That is, if they’ll have him. And my guess is that if they somehow come up short in the bidding or if things get stretched out and Greenberg’s financing — which some have suggested includes some fickle investors — starts to crumble, they wouldn’t mind having Cuban come in with some serious cash to seal their bid. And at this point, anything that saves Greenberg/Ryan’s bacon is good with Major League Baseball.
My question is this: if Mark Cuban comes in as a minority owner in a Greenberg/Ryan ownership group, how long does he stay a minority owner? Because you can say a lot of things about Mark Cuban, but one thing you can’t say is that he gets off on being someone’s silent partner.
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.