This comes up about twice a year and people like to talk about it, so hey, why not? Go read Marty Noble over at MLB.com opining that the Mets should move the fences in at Citi Field because it’s killing David Wright and making home runs scarce and all of that:
Right field at Citi need not be Yankee Stadium-esque, but it needs to be smaller and more inviting to men who swing the bat. The tall wall in left-center could be moved a tad closer and perhaps shortened. But as is, it facilitates extra-base hits and, as Shea Stadium did in all directions, legitimizes the home runs that are hit. Leave it alone.
Right field is the rub. The club isn’t about to turn away from the advertising revenue the Mo Zone generates in right. Its less-than-stuffed pockets need all available pennies. But the Mets ought to eliminate, adjust or move the Zone and make life easier for their best player and most recognizable face. Eliminate Mo, add some seats — they may be necessary again one day — and give David Wright a fighting chance to hit 30 home runs.
I’ve never been a fan of these kinds of arguments. The Mets wanted a pitcher’s park so they built one. If they can’t trot out a pitching staff that takes advantage of that more than the pitching staffs of the visiting teams do, well, that’s kind of tough. As it is, the Mets have scored more runs at home than they have on the road in each of their two full seasons in Citi Field and are currently averaging slightly more at home in the early going this year. Don’t go changing the organizational strategy every couple of years. And in this case, at least make sure that the problem is actually the park’s dimensions rather than your poor team before making rash decisions.
The argument I hear most frequently in favor of moving the fences at Citi Field? It would make David Wright’s statistics look better. And that’s really not a reason to go messing with the fences.
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.