The caped gentleman in the corner of this post is “Champ,” the mascot of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. His job: to act like a loon, cause trouble, make kids laugh, make crowds cheer and to do a lot of general good will creation. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, however, allegedly consider him to be an executive of some kind. At least when it comes to paying overtime:
A Pennsylvania man who worked as the mascot for a New York Yankees minor league team claims his former employer violated worker protection laws.
Brian Bonner was laid off last month from his job as Champ. He’s suing the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, claiming they improperly classified him as a manager to avoid paying him overtime.
I have no idea, obviously, if there’s anything to this. I do know a lot of people, however, who are now classified as management for jobs that, 20 years ago, were never considered such a thing.
Empowerment or exploitation? I guess the answer to that depends on how managerial you consider doing things like straight clerical or assembly work. Or, you know, shooting t-shirts into crowds with canons and riding ATVs around warning tracks.
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.