If the White Sox decide to let Paul Konerko leave as a free agent–and with the privilege to match any offer the decision may truly be up to them–they may turn to rookie Dayan Viciedo as the starter at first base, according to Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune.
With a 167/34 K/BB ratio in the minors and 25/2 mark in his first taste of the majors I’m not convinced that Viciedo is ready to thrive in the big leagues yet, but if he’s going to get a chance next season at age 22 it makes sense that it would be at first base or designated hitter.
He was signed out of Cuba as a third baseman and played mostly third base in the minors, but the consensus seems to be that at 5-foot-11 and 240 pounds Viciedo is unlikely to stick there as even an adequate defender long term. Ultimate Zone Rating pegged him as 2.3 runs below average in just 162 innings at third base with the White Sox in his debut and Viciedo committed four errors in 19 starts there. Beyond that, Chicago also has Mark Teahen and Brent Morel as third base options for 2011.
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.