Nine days after signing Luis Castillo to a minor-league contract following news that Chase Utley would begin the season on the disabled list the Phillies have released the veteran second baseman.
Castillo got off to a slow start after reporting to Phillies camp, but notched two hits Saturday and two hits with a stolen base Tuesday. He appeared to be in line to not only make the roster, but perhaps even start in place of Utley on Opening Day. So much for that.
Because his minor-league deal wasn’t guaranteed the Phillies aren’t out any money and now Castillo is a free agent again, free to sign with any team for any amount with the Mets on the hook for his entire $6 million salary. He’ll probably have to settle for another minor-league deal and prove himself at Triple-A.
Earlier this week Utley offered no timetable for his return and said only that returning before the All-Star break was his goal, but the Phillies are apparently comfortable going with light-hitting utility man Wilson Valdes as their primary second baseman. Josh Barfield is another in-house option if they decide to call him up from Triple-A and Philadelphia also signed infielder Kevin Frandsen to a minor-league deal yesterday.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.