Anthony Rizzo has struggled in his first taste of the big leagues, going just 5-for-31 (.161) with one homer and 12 strikeouts since being called up two weeks ago, but the Padres have made it very clear that they won’t be benching or demoting the top prospect.
Here’s what manager Bud Black told Rob Terranova of the North County Times:
He’s going to play. He’s got a very good head on his shoulders, has poise, and a great perspective on where he is right now for a 21-year-old. Now he needs time to continue to grow as a player and develop as a major-leaguer.
And here’s general manager Jed Hoyer:
He might be overswinging a little bit right now, but we have no doubt that he’s going to be a really good player. He’s just gonna go though some growing pains.
When a team commits to calling up a stud prospect at age 21 how he fares through two weeks should have absolutely zero impact on their plans. Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox as part of the four-prospect package for Adrian Gonzalez this offseason, hit .365 with 16 homers, 20 doubles, and a 1.159 OPS in 52 games at Triple-A prior to the call-up. He’ll be just fine.
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.