It’s so rare that you hear a team owner talk frankly about the big picture decisions that come with running a team. They all say they’re always trying to win. When they tear down and rebuild, they all talk about it being some inevitable process that was forced on them by the laws of Man and Nature, and that even so, the rebuilding will be brief and glorious and the team will be fun to watch as it happens. This strikes me as hooey most of the time, and an interview Jerry Reinsdorf gave to the White Sox beat guys yesterday bolsters that belief.
It’s a great read in which Reinsdorf notes that the Chisox could have gone either way this season, either letting their free agents go and packing it in or else going a bit nuts and loading up to catch Minnesota. Notably, he includes his thoughts about the profitability implications to all of that. It’s not often that you hear a team owner admit that, yeah, gutting the roster could make the team turn a profit and that rebuilding can often be a long slog during which some bad baseball is played, but Reinsdorf was pretty frank about it.
And best of all, he dropped a rather self-aware line:
“The idea of being bad for two or three years is a horrible thought when you’re 75 years old.”
One gets the sense that super rich dudes who own big businesses — especially sports teams — think they’re going to live forever. It’s nice to see that that’s not the case for everyone.
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.