Horacio Ramirez

Horacio Ramirez resurfaces in majors with Angels

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The Angels demoted reliever Michael Kohn and replaced him with journeyman lefty Horacio Ramirez prior to Wednesday’s game, bringing the former Brave back to the majors for the first time in two years.

Ramirez was last seen with the Royals in 2009.  Despite a horrible March, he was named the team’s fifth starter out of spring training that year — Dayton Moore and company badly wanted a left-handed starter in the rotation — only to get demoted after one start.  He had a 5.96 ERA in 22 2/3 innings that season before getting cut in June.

Ramirez debuted in the Braves in 2003, going 12-4 with a 4.00 ERA as a rookie.  After four seasons in Atlanta, he was famously traded to Seattle for Rafael Soriano, a deal that was so clearly awful at the time that it still manages to standout in Bill Bavasi’s disastrous tenure as Mariners GM.  Ramirez didn’t even last the season in Seattle as he racked up as 7.16 ERA in 20 starts.  Since leaving Atlanta, he has a 6.32 ERA in 158 innings as a major leaguer.

Now he’s back after going 3-1 with a 3.47 ERA as a reliever for Triple-A Salt Lake.  Lefties hit just .222 off him in 63 at-bats, so he’ll get a quick look before the Angels decide whether they need to pick up another southpaw before the deadline.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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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.