Apparently, Corey Patterson is a keeper.
The Jays announced after Thursday’s win over the Rangers that they’ve optioned 23-year-old Travis Snider to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Utilityman Chris Woodward was sent outright to the same club. Rajai Davis is expected to come off the DL and reclaim his spot in center field prior to Friday’s game.
Snider was demoted despite a current five-game hitting streak that had raised his average from .159 to .184. Of course, it was about as weak as hitting streaks get, considering he didn’t have a two-hit game or an extra-base hit during the span. The Jays probably would have been more patient with him if not for the 23 strikeouts in 87 at-bats.
Overall, Snider, who debuted with the Jays as a 20-year-old in 2008, has hit .246/.313/.423 in 699 at-bats as a major leaguer. He’s shown very impressive power at times — he his six homers last September alone — but he’s had big issues making contact (203 strikeouts), and since he’s limited defensively, he’s not an asset while hitting .250, much less .180.
With Snider out of the mix, the Jays will go with Patterson and Juan Rivera in left field for now. Snider should get another chance in a month or so, but if this is a make-or-break year for him in Toronto, it’s certainly off to a rough start.
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.