As has been suggested ever since it became clear that, yes, Jake Peavy was actually coming back, starting tomorrow, the White Sox are going to go with a six-man rotation. Today Brett Ballantini of CSN Chicago has the complete breakdown of the schedule and the White Sox’ starters’ splits on four, five and six days’ rest. The upshot: everyone except Edwin Jackson does better on extra rest, and Jackson does about the same. Brett also proposes some schedule tweaks that would optimize the number of starts each guy gets on his best rest period (some do better with five days off; others six).
We hear about teams messing with — or at least flirting with — the idea of six-man rotations from time to time, but the White Sox’ experiment is supposed to last a while. Scanning around the web for a few minutes I couldn’t find any comprehensive studies of the beast, so I’m not sure (a) if anyone has used a six-man rotation for a sustained period of time; or (b) if it was useful. It strikes me that the biggest risk to it all is not what it means for the starters themselves but for roster construction. Are there enough position players on the bench? Will the manager, knowing that his starters are better rested, better-optimize his bullpen use?
It’ll be interesting to watch. And, if the White Sox go on a tear over the next month, will be something we’ll probably see more of.
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.