Jon Heyman tweeted the following a few minutes ago:
adrian beltre market is very hot. 12 teams are interested. got a chance to be the first star to go off the board.
I don’t doubt that there is sharp interest in Beltre and that he might sign quickly. He’s easily the top infielder on the market, and his bat and defense are no doubt highly sought after, especially by a couple of clubs — the Red Sox and Angels — who are clearly willing to spend this winter.
Still: “12 teams are interested?” That seems highly doubtful. Merely eyeballing rosters and payrolls, I see perhaps 12 or 13 total teams who aren’t settled at third base next season. Of those 12 or 13 teams, I see maybe four or five — including the Red Sox, White Sox, Angels and Giants — who might give Beltre the long term contract he’s looking for. Among the others are poor sisters like the Marlins and Padres, or teams that have other long term priorities than third base, like the Cardinals. The notion that every single team who has a vacancy at third base is interested in Beltre is either wrong, or else the meaning of the world “interest” has gotten a lot looser than it used to be.
Small point, I guess, but it’s just another reminder that you have to impose some critical thinking on most of the rumors and buzz you hear this time of the year.
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.