Silicon Valley execs want the A's in San Jose

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The Silicon Valley Leadership group has sent a letter to Bud Selig in support of the Athletics moving to San Jose.  You can read a press release about it and — if you click an extra link — a copy of the letter here.  It’s signed by the CEOs of Cisco, Yahoo!, eBay, Adobe and seventy others. The upshot: they think a ballpark in downtown San Jose would be swell and that it would “create jobs” and “strengthen the economy.”

Maybe most interestingly, they argue that a team in San Jose would in no way diminish support for the Giants. It’s support from Silicon Valley companies, you’ll recall, that the Giants are most worried about losing if the A’s move south.  Wonder if the CEOs are willing to make actual commitments to the Giants in exchange for them dropping their opposition to the team moving . . .

Intrigue aside, I think the A’s need to move to San Jose for their own sake, but I’m somewhat surprised to see a letter like this from tech business leaders. Sure, we all love baseball, but the whole “a ballpark will create jobs and stimulate the economy” argument has more or less been debunked by every smart person who has
studied the issue.  The people who benefit from ballparks are basically
the owners of baseball teams and people who own parking lots.  The real benefit the signatories to this letter would get would be quality of life and employee/client entertainment opportunities. Which they do note in the letter, I’ll grant, even if they do make the “public good argument” a bit more strongly.

Of course, the move wouldn’t hurt too terribly if this was primarily a private project, which the A’s and San Jose leaders claim it will be.  I just find it weird that putatively forward-thinking tech companies would get into this kind of boosterism. Maybe I’m just idealizing Silicon Valley in this regard, however, and they’re no different than the insurance companies and car dealers and stuff that get on these kinds of bandwagons back east.  

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.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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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.