Jose Bautista is one long ball away from becoming the 26th player in baseball history–and first since Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder in 2007–to hit 50 homers in a season, but he’s also on the verge of joining an even more exclusive club.
Bautista has 95 walks with 13 games left, making it likely that he’ll reach the century mark for the year. In the history of baseball there have been a grand total of 21 seasons of 50 homers and 100 walks produced by 13 different players.
Bautista would be the 14th and definitely the least likely member of the 50-100 club:
Babe Ruth 4
Mark McGwire 4
Mickey Mantle 2
Jimmie Foxx 2
Barry Bonds 1
David Ortiz 1
Sammy Sosa 1
Ryan Howard 1
Jim Thome 1
Luis Gonzalez 1
Hank Greenberg 1
Hack Wilson 1
Ralph Kiner 1
If his current rate stats hold Bautista would have the lowest batting average (.262), on-base percentage (.382), and slugging percentage (.617) of any 50-homer, 100-walk season, but that’s sort of like saying someone is the weakest World’s Strongest Man champion, ugliest Miss America winner, or least annoying Kardashian sister.
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.