MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan first reported it last night and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com is confirming. The Rangers, six games up in the American League West, are going hard after Marlins corner infielder Jorge Cantu in their ongoing search for a quality right-handed bat.
Cantu, 28, isn’t having the best July, but he was an RBI machine earlier this season and he’s tallied a respectable 10 home runs in 358 at-bats. The Marlins appear ready to clear a roster spot for top prospect Logan Morrison, who is batting .304/.423/.471 with five homers and 42 RBI in 227 at-bats for Triple-A New Orleans.
Cantu would serve as a backup to young first baseman Chris Davis in Texas and would also act as a quality late-innings pinch-hitter. As it stands, the Rangers’ bench consists of the light-hitting Joaquin Arias, journeyman Andres Blanco, backup catcher Taylor Teagarden and outfielder David Murphy.
The Rangers have been great this year, but if there is one area that needs improvement it is the bench.
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.