The dominoes are beginning to fall.
Cliff Lee went off the board late Monday night, making Carl Pavano the “best” starting pitcher left standing in the free agent market, for better or worse. The Brewers had interest in signing Pavano, but were reportedly reluctant to go beyond two years. Now that they have traded for Zack Greinke, we can cross them off the list.
Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com tweeted a short while ago that the Twins have regained a little bit of leverage as far as retaining the free agent right-hander, and that’s probably true, but other teams who wanted Greinke, such as the Nationals or Rangers, may have more of a sense of urgency with Pavano than they did yesterday. Not necessarily a bad thing for him.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe speculated this morning that signing Pavano would take $36 million over three years. The other comparable signings out there this winter include Ted Lilly, who received $33 million over three years from the Dodgers and Jorge De La Rosa, who is essentially guaranteed $32 million over three years with the Rockies. It’s not unreasonable to think that Pavano could pocket a few extra million for holding out, especially in an environment where teams have not been hesitant about spending.
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.