Last month Angel Villalona sued the Giants for $5 million claiming that they violated the terms of his contract after he was charged with murder in 2009.
Villalona spent three months in a Dominican Republic jail after being accused of killing a 25-year-old man in a nightclub, but the charges were eventually dismissed as part of a $139,000 settlement with the victim’s family and now Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the former top prospect will settle the lawsuit with the Giants and resume playing in the minors.
Villalona received $2.1 million to sign with the Giants as a 16-year-old in 2006 and is still just 21 despite not playing since mid-2009. However, even before the murder charges his prospect stock was slipping thanks to mediocre production and a hideous 235/45 K/BB ratio in the low levels of the minors.
Giants senior vice president of communications Staci Slaughter told Schulman that Villalona will “most likely” be reinstated and report to the team’s academy in the Dominican Republic to start working his way back into game shape.
What a weird story. And there’s still no guarantee he’ll be allowed back in the United States.
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.