Various reports following the Red Sox’s trade for Adrian Gonzalez suggested that the two sides had a preliminary agreement in place for a long-term contract extension, but were delaying an official announcement in part to avoid the luxury tax ramifications for 2011.
That may still be the case, as the whole point of the maneuvering would be to keep it unofficial and under wraps at this point, but Gonzalez did an interview with a Mexican blog Puro Beisbol that indicated talk of a preliminary agreement may be premature.
Here’s a translated excerpt, courtesy of Nick Collias from MLB Trade Rumors:
Nothing about that is true. It’s false. I haven’t signed any contract. We discussed the trade, but we didn’t reach any agreement, and we didn’t negotiate numbers. The only thing I have for sure is the contract that I had already signed with the Padres, and what I can tell you is that over the course of the season we’re going to negotiate to reach an agreement.
What makes it impossible to determine the truth in this situation is that Gonzalez would probably say more or less the exact same thing whether they’d agreed to a contract or not. If there’s indeed no contract in place, then his comments could be taken at face value. And if there is a contract in place, as has been reported, then the Red Sox would have told him to deny that anyway to avoid ruining the plan to manipulate the luxury tax ramifications.
Whatever the case, the Red Sox likely wouldn’t have given up three top-rated prospects without being extremely confident about signing Gonzalez to a long-term deal, and in fact when the trade with the Padres was briefly reported as being nixed the reason given was that they failed to agree to a contract in the MLB-allotted negotiating window.
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.