Fielder_Prince

Two tidbits from Buster Olney’s “evaluators”

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I read Buster Oleny’s column every day. It’s handy, as he links the great bulk of the day’s major stories. And while I don’t always agree with Buster’s take on things, I think he gets stuff right more often than a lot of the other big national guys do when they take off their reporter’s hat and think about the issues of the day.

Buster also seems pretty ego-free, and I get the sense that I’d enjoy sitting down for a beer with him more than I would the other handful of guys with whom he competes. Assuming he drinks beer. I’ve been to two Winter Meetings now, and I don’t recall him hobnobbing in the hotel lobby with the rest of us lushes, so maybe not. No matter.

Anyway, one of the things that has amused me lately about Buster’s column is that he uses the term “evaluator” all the time when referring to his sources. Maybe he’s done this a while, but I’m just noticing it. I’m pretty sure he used to use “scouts,” but now it’s “evaluator.” Probably pretty handy because you can include GMs and others farther up the chain with the same anonymous description. Although to be honest, part of me wants to think that it’s just Buster adding flair to the title, because I like the idea of the extremely straightforward Olney adding flair for no real reason.

Today there are two “evaluator” notes in his column that caught my eye. The first:

One evaluator loves the work he has seen out of Prince Fielder this spring, saying that Fielder is playing very hard and hustling.

Note to those who keep score of such things: a non-white, non-middle-infielder was described as “hustling.” That should bring the score to 1,345,224 to 2.  Also:

A rival evaluator stationed in Arizona thinks that the worst team he has seen this spring is the Diamondbacks. “They just don’t have a lot (of talent) over there,” he said.

I think the “stationed in Arizona” part is key, because I can’t see how the Pirates aren’t going to be the worst team in baseball this year.  Though, yeah, as far as the Arizona teams go, I think he probably has a point about the Diamondbacks

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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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.