Later this week MLB teams are expected to bid on exclusive negotiating rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Japanese infielder “wants to play on the West Coast” and is mostly interested in the Dodgers, Giants, Diamondbacks, and Padres.
He won’t actually have a choice in the matter, as Nishioka will only be allowed to sign with whichever team submits the high bid to the Chiba Lotte Marines, but assuming MLB front offices have done their homework those four teams figure to be in the mix.
Hernandez writes that “the Dodgers are his preferred landing spot” and “are known to have scouted Nishioka.” Los Angeles has Rafael Furcal at shortstop, but could use Nishioka at second base if they non-tender Ryan Theriot before the arbitration deadline.
Earlier this week the A’s bid $17 million for the exclusive negotiating rights to Hisashi Iwakuma and now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with the Japanese right-hander.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.
The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.
Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.
Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.
Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.
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.