White Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson spent the bulk of yesterday afternoon’s game complaining about home plate umpire Joe West, whom he feels holds a longtime grudge against the team that led to the Royals getting favorable calls.
Harrelson talked about the umpiring for literally innings at a time and his broadcast partner Frank Thomas, who was subbing for a vacationing Steve Stone, frequently chimed in to agree.
After every close pitch that was called a ball for a White Sox pitcher or a strike for a Royals pitcher, Harrelson launched into another monologue about the umpires conspiring against the White Sox. He frequently used words like “disgusting” and “disgraceful” to describe the situation, and called it a “travesty” that West was even allowed to work White Sox games after his incident with Mark Buehrle earlier this season.
At one point Thomas noted that “back when I was playing” the catcher and pitcher would intentionally get “crossed up” on a pitch and let it hit the umpire, which seemed to be mostly a joke because a) Thomas laughed, b) “back when I was playing” was all of two years ago, and c) that rarely, if ever, actually happens. But then Harrelson liked the sound of Thomas’ “idea” and suggested the White Sox actually do it to West.
Finally, in the 10th inning Jason Kendall broke a 2-2 tie with a walk-off single, winning the game and the series for the Royals and dropping the White Sox to 2-4 on their road trip, at which point the following exchange took place:
Harrelson: This is absolutely … [five-second pause] … this is absolutely not right.
Thomas: This really sucks.
As a Twins fan I quite enjoyed the whole broadcast, but I can’t imagine many other people liking three straight hours of complaining about umpires and I can’t imagine MLB liking announcers publicly calling for teams to intentionally injure umpires.
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.