UPDATE: Not so fast. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Braves manager Bobby Cox said that the team will wait until Sunday to make a decision regarding Billy Wagner’s spot on the NLDS roster.
The Braves are still holding out hope that he will be available should the team advance to the NLCS, so it’s possible they will play short-handed in the meantime. If the Braves determine that Wagner will not be able to return in the near future, Takashi Saito or Jair Jurrjens would likely replace him on the roster.
8:52 AM: According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Billy Wagner will be replaced on the NLDS roster due to a strained left oblique suffered in the 10th inning of last night’s game against the Giants.
“I went to field Renteria’s bunt, and when I tried to get out of
Troy’s way, that’s when I felt a tweak,” Wagner said. “I tried to make a
pitch, just get out there and finish the inning. After I made the
pitch [to Torres] and tried to go toward the plate, I couldn’t move.
“Thank God he bunted it hard enough to get it back to me, or I couldn’t have made a play at all.”
Wagner is expected to be replaced on the roster by either Takashi
Saito or Jair Jurrjens, both of whom are recovering from injuries of their own. O’Brien gives the advantage to Saito, who was left off the original NLDS roster due to an inflamed shoulder.
Now that Wagner will be removed from the roster, he will be ineligible to return should the Braves advance to the NLCS. In other words, the Braves must reach the World Series in order for Wagner to pitch again during the postseason. The veteran left-hander has held pretty firm about his intent to retire after the 2010 season, so it’s very possible that this was the last time we’ll ever see him on the mound. That’s just not right.
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.