Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus won the starting job at second base by hitting .294 with an .831 OPS in 24 games this spring, but after playing poorly in 14 games to begin the season the Mets have decided to cut him loose.
Emaus, who got the Opening Day nod and started 10 of the first 16 games, went 6-for-37 (.162) with nine strikeouts and four walks in 42 plate appearances.
It seems odd to take him in the Rule 5 draft, hand him the starting job, and then ditch him three weeks later after fewer than than 50 plate appearances, but even the most optimistic projection for Emaus pegs him as merely a useful role player and that was far from guaranteed at age 25.
Justin Turner was called up from Triple-A to take Emaus’ spot on the roster, but Daniel Murphy figures to replace him as the primary second baseman despite hitting just .226 with a .649 OPS in 34 plate appearances of his own. Assuming he clears waivers, Emaus will be offered back to his original team, the Blue Jays.
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.