Maybe, but let’s start with what we know to be true.
Tim Lincecum allowed just two hits over eight innings of one-run ball in a 2-1 win over the Rockies last night. As a result, the Giants enter play Saturday with a one-game advantage over the Padres in the win column while the fading Rockies sit 3 1/2 games back in the division and four back in the Wild Card. Barring a minor miracle, the Rockies are just about done.
OK, here’s the (potential) funny business. You may recall that earlier this week, Craig informed us about some chatter that the Rockies may be slipping some non-humidor balls into circulation at opportune moments. Only adding to the controversy is the fact that the Rockies have a 51-25 (.671) record at home and a lowly 31-46 (.403) record on the road this season.
The Giants haven’t issued a formal complaint in regards to the humidor, but Lincecum may have suspected something during the sixth inning of last night’s game. The Giants’ ace was spotted evidently mouthing the words “juiced balls” as he tossed a ball back to home plate umpire Laz Diaz. Mark Townsend of Bugs and Cranks has video of moment in question, though probably for a limited time only. It sure looks it.
According to Jeff Fletcher of AOL Fanhouse, Lincecum did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on what he may have said, but for now, the conspiracy theory lives on.
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.