One of the things people have always marveled about with Adrian Gonzalez is the fact that he has been able to hit 30+ homers in four consecutive seasons with the Padres, despite playing half of his games in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball. So, what can we expect now that A-Gone is about to be set loose?
Well, let’s start by looking at his career home-away splits:
Home: .263/.360/.440 with 61 home runs, 214 RBI and an 800 OPS (.279/.383/.438 with 11 homers, 42 RBI and an 821 OPS in 2010)
Away: .303/.376/.568 with 107 home runs, 311 RBI and a 943 OPS (.315/.402/.578 with 20 homers, 59 RBI and a 980 OPS in 2010)
This is the primary reason why the rest of the American League should be scared. Keep in mind, those home-away splits include 29 games with the Rangers in 2004 and 2005. Factoring in only PETCO Park, he has a .267/.367/.442 batting line to go along with an 808 OPS.
Fenway Park isn’t exactly a home-run haven, but it will certainly be a more fair environment, as Bill James Park Indices routinely ranks PETCO Park as the worst park for a left-handed hitter. Gonzalez’s natural inside-out swing should play brilliantly in Boston. His numbers should also see a nice boost thanks to playing plenty of road games at Yankee Stadium, Camden Yards and Rogers Centre, which cater to left-handed power.
So, what can we expect? Assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks with his shoulder, I’d say 40 home runs is a fair expectation for a full season away from PETCO. With a strong (and hopefully healthy) supporting cast in Boston, he also has a very good chance of topping his previous career-high of 119 RBI back in 2008.
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.