The Mets may be a big market team but they have big financial problems. Bigger than they’ve been letting on, it seems, because the New York Times is reporting that Major League Baseball provided the Mets $20 million to cover operating expenses last fall. Or maybe it was more, because the Daily News is reporting that it was $25 million. Either way, Fred Wilpon is a tad sensitive about it all:
Wilpon, in Florida for spring training, said on Friday that he would not talk about the team’s finances. Asked directly whether baseball had been assisting him, Wilpon walked away, saying he did not want to discuss the team’s finances with a reporter.
Remember last year when the Rangers got help with their operating expenses? How everyone considered that to be some kind of affront to fair play and market economics and all of that? Something tells me that a team with a $140 million payroll and its own cable network needing similar charity isn’t going to go over well.
Also: remember how Tom Hicks started out saying he was going to sell a minority interest in the team? And then had to take money to keep afloat? Anyone really all that confident that the Wilpons are going to avoid the same fate Hicks met?
*Correction: When I first posted this I had the headline in the future tense — as in, the league was going to provide assistance. The assistance came last fall. Sorry for the error.
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.