Some breaking news here from Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times.
Giants outfielder Jose Guillen was left off San Francisco’s postseason roster this month not because of his poor play, but because he is being investigated currently for ties to performance-enhancing drugs.
According to Schmidt’s report, Guillen had packages of human growth hormone (HGH) sent to an address that is registered to his wife in the Bay Area during the 2010 season. Major League Baseball immediately opened an investigation and recommended to the Giants that Guillen be left off the club’s postseason roster. The Giants complied and the investigation goes on.
Few people have agreed to comment on the story and Guillen should be viewed as innocent until proven guilty, but it wouldn’t be the first time that the veteran outfielder has been linked to performance-enhancers. The San Francisco Chronicle discovered in 2007 that Guillen bought more than $19,000 worth of HGH between 2002 and 2005.
All of this could lead to a 50-game suspension for the 34-year-old impending free agent. He slugged 19 home runs and tallied 77 RBI in 524 at-bats this past season, but he no longer plays good defense and it’s highly probable that Guillen won’t be available for the fist few months of 2011. It’s going to be tough for him to find a contract before the start of next year’s regular season.
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.