More evidence that we need to suspend spring training and start games now: guys plunking one-another in spring training games, possibly on managers’ orders.
Adam Kilgore has the description of the scene from Jupiter, where Cardinals reliever Miguel Batista hit Ian Desmond for no apparent reason, at least within the context of this game. Kilgore believes it may have been over an incident between the clubs last summer. Apparently Jim Riggleman yelled at Tony La Russa after the Desmond plunk, basically arguing that he thought everyone was even already.
Kilgore suggests that Batista may have made the Cardinals roster today as a result of the plunking. He doesn’t put so fine a point on it, but I take it to mean that he believes this was a La Russa-ordered plunking. Or at least a La Russa-suggested one. As has been reported, Batista is on the bubble with respect to making the team. A guy in that position neither rocks the boat with attitudinal freelancing nor does he ignore a direct order from his Genius manager.
If so: low rent move by La Russa. Guys throwing at one-another for vendettas both real or imagined is dumb as it is, but doing it in relaxed and — competitively speaking — consquence-free spring training games with guys who are desperate to impress just makes it all unseemly.
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.