From FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal comes the news that the Padres’ Heath Bell, the Cubs’ Carlos Pena and the Twins’ Jim Thome and Jason Kubel were all placed on trade waivers Monday.
They’ll all be on waivers — but still eligible to play — through Wednesday. If they clear waivers, they can be dealt at any point over the rest of the season, though to be eligible for the postseason, they’d have to be on their new rosters prior to Sept. 1.
Anyone not clearing waivers can either be pulled back or traded to the team with the highest priority that claims him.
Bell, Thome and Kubel are almost certain to get claimed on waivers. Even a non-contender might try to pick up Bell or Kubel, simply for the fact that it’d be worth taking on about $1 million in salary in an effort to get back draft-pick compensation this winter. All four players are going to become free agents after the season.
Since Pena makes the most money of the bunch and there isn’t a whole lot of need at first base among contenders, he might slip through waivers.
The Indians would be the obvious choice to grab Thome, especially after Travis Hafner got hurt Sunday. Besides the White Sox, the Indians have the worst record of any AL contender. Since these are trade waivers, leaguemates have priority for putting in claims. Thome, though, does have no-trade protection and could block either a deal or a waiver claim.
Bell appears highly unlikely to be traded. Any NL team, from the Astros and Cubs on up, could put in a claim just with the idea that he’d be worth it for the draft picks, and the Padres value those draft picks pretty highly themselves.
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.