Scott Boras went on MLB Network Radio on SIRIUS XM this afternoon and spoke with hosts Jim Duquette and Kevin Kennedy about the Edward Salcedo loan story, which we’ve been following since yesterday. Boras had three main points he wanted to make:
- While everyone’s ears prick up when they hear about agents loaning money to kids, that is a function of U.S. audiences hearing about it in the context of the NCAA and amateurism rules and finding it distasteful and wrong. It is wrong in the latter context, Boras, agrees, but not the former. He believes that the New York Times story was written because it hits on the latter, hot button issues. Oh, and because people are very eager to “finally get to attack someone we want to.” Meaning himself, of course;
- Salcedo was poor and in need, and that if it weren’t for the loans — and he stressed that it was a “loans,” over time, not one check for $70,000 — Salcedo would have had to abandon his baseball career due to financial need; and
- No MLBPA rules were violated in making the loans.
I still think that the agenda involved as a lot to do with Major League Baseball’s designs on restraining the market in the Dominican, but I’ll concede that Boras’ answer is more satisfying on an Occam’s Razor level. The Times does likely have an interest in getting in on the “agents loaning young players money” story even if, in this case, there is nothing wrong with it. People do like to take swings at Boras if they get a chance. Of course, the paper isn’t doing this on its own. It quoted some Major League Baseball sources pretty prominently in yesterday’s piece, so my theory could be working right alongside Boras’.
I have yet to see a statement from the MLBPA blessing the loans, so there may still be an issue here with respect to technical compliance. But at the same time, I have yet to see anything that suggests that this is a dire problem like it was portrayed to be in yesterday’s New York Times story.
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.