Well, that bottom of the seventh inning was probably one of the worst meltdowns I have seen in quite some time. And this is coming from a Mets fan. The Phillies now lead the Reds 6-4 in the eighth inning.
It all started when Chase Utley reached first base on a questionable HBP against Aroldis Chapman. The replays were pretty darn inconclusive, but you’d think Utley would have reacted a bit more had hit actually been hit by a 102 mph fastball. Maybe his life was just flashing before his eyes or something. Either way, he reached first base.
After Chapman fanned Ryan Howard for the first out, Jayson Werth hit a ground ball to third, which should have been thrown to first for the second out, but Scott Rolen decided to throw to second, instead. Again, replays were inconclusive, but Utley was ruled safe at second base.
Then, things went completely haywire. Jimmy Rollins hit a flyball to right field and Jay Bruce completely lost it in the lights, or more likely, the sea of white towels being waved at Citizens Bank Park. If that wasn’t bad enough, Brandon Phillips dropped the cut-off throw, allowing two runs to score. And to complete the trifecta of “I just don’t know,” it sure looked like Utley may have missed third base.
In summary, the Phillies have scored six runs thanks to six hits, four errors, four walks and three hit-by-pitches. Five of their six runs are unearned. The Reds are basically saying, “here, you can have it.”
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.