You know who is going to be a big free agent player? The Los Angeles Angels are going to be a big free agent player. Why? Because they don’t care if they lose money or not. Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles:
According to a baseball source, the Angels expect to lose about $10
million this season. So will Moreno go deeper into his pocket to get
[Carl] Crawford? Or will the Angels try to shed payroll to accommodate that
Well, just about every team in baseball that’s losing money (or that at least says it’s losing money) would say it’s time for austerity. Not the Angels. Here, quoted by Saxon, is Angels GM Tony Reagins:
“You always have to take account of how the finances work, but we’re not
limited financially in any way. Whatever we need to do that makes sense
and that’s reasonable, we’ll address.”
I’m reminded of my man Charlie Kane when told that he was losing a million dollars a year in late 19th century money:
“You’re right, I did lose a million dollars last year. I expect to lose a
million dollars this year. I expect to lose a million dollars next
year. You know, Mr. Thatcher, at the rate of a million dollars a year,
I’ll have to close this place in . . . 60 years.
That’s pretty much Arte Moreno’s m.o., it would seem. No, not fomenting wars with Cuba and forcing his wife to do jigsaw puzzles in front of a comically over-sized fireplace, but in keeping year-to-year losses in perspective while realizing that overall value is where it’s at.
I don’t know how much the Angels are really losing, but let’s say it’s $10 million. Given Moreno’s investments in marketing and the ballpark and the payroll and everything else, how much more are the Angels worth today than when he bought the team a few years ago? I’m betting quite a bit. Certainly enough to absorb a $10 million loss. And certainly enough to afford Carl Crawford.
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.