Interesting situation between the Mets and Hisanori Takahashi.
According to David Waldstein of the New York Times, the Mets have until October 31 (next Sunday) to sign Takahashi to a new contract or else they are prohibited from signing the left-hander until May 15, 2011.
Why? Well, it’s little complicated. When the Mets signed Takahashi to a minor league contract in February, there was a clause inserted in his contract which stated that he must be released by October 31 in order to become a free agent. According to MLB rules, any player who is released after midnight August 31 and before Opening Day of the next season cannot sign a major league deal with the same team until May 15. So, basically, if the Mets don’t re-sign him by next Sunday, he’ll end up elsewhere.
Only adding to the uncertainty is that the Mets haven’t decided on a general manager. Acting GM John Ricco has been handling the negotiations with Takahashi’s agent Peter Greenberg. It’s hard to know if Sandy Alderson or Josh Byrnes would agree with handing Takahashi a multi-year contract, for example, but the left-hander looks like he would be an asset to any pitching staff.
Takahashi, who turns 36 next April, went 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 12 starts and 41 relief appearances with the Mets this season. After Francisco Rodriguez went down with a season-ending thumb injury, he went a perfect 8-for-8 in save opportunities.
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.