Mariners manager Eric Wedge has finally decided to put the struggling Chone Figgins out of his misery.
At least for a little while.
According to Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, Figgins will get the next couple of days off in order to clear his head. Luis Rodriguez will make the start at third base tonight against the Orioles, though Wedge was quick to mention that this is not a permanent change.
“I’m going to give Chone a couple of days just to get him away from it a little bit,” Wedge said. “Obviously I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about him and a few of the other guys, too. We’re looking to navigate through this the best way we feel like (we can) to get him back on track as quick as possible.”
Figgins is batting .190/.232/.256 hitless over 209 plate appearances this season and is hitless over his last 22 at-bats dating back to May 23. The 33-year-old is two years removed from leading the American League in walks, but is currently drawing walks at a career-low rate of 5.3 percent. Meanwhile, he is just 7-for-12 in stolen base attempts. His line drive percentage has dropped sharply over the past two seasons, so his current batting average isn’t just a matter of bad luck. There’s a real chance we’re watching his decline.
The Mariners signed Figgins to a four-year, $36 million contract in December of 2009. He is still guaranteed $9 million in 2012 and $8 million in 2013.
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.