Scott Kazmir reached the end of the line with the Angels on Wednesday. After giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday night, he was placed on release waivers by the club, which is prepared to eat the approx. $9.5 million he’s still owed.
After Kazmir struggled throughout spring training and then got lit up for five runs in 1 2/3 innings in his one regular-season start, the Angels stashed him on the DL in April, hoping he’d rediscover his form after a brief break. Kazmir, though, wasn’t able to recover, even after a month and a half rest from working in games. He had a 17.02 ERA in his five rehab starts for Salt Lake.
Kazmir ends his Angels career having gone 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA in 35 starts. Those results cost the Halos $22.5 million and the three players they sent to the Rays in trade in Aug. 2009: Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney.
Once Kazmir clears waivers, he should be pretty popular with teams looking to bolster their pitching depth. It wouldn’t be surprised if both the Red Sox and Yankees, who saw Kazmir at his best plenty of times when he pitched for the Rays, come calling. He’s a mess right now — his delivery needs an overhaul, not just a tweek or two — but he might not be an entirely lost cause.
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.