Gee, he ought to start a website with that name. Oops! Too late!
The Cardinals are obviously trying to settle as much family business as they can before the season ends and all efforts will have to be put into the Albert Pujols negotiations. One bit of family business they’d like settled is the matter of Lance Berkman in 2012. He has said he wants to be back. The Cardinals certainly want him back. But according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, it hasn’t been smooth sailing thus far, with there existing “a difference of opinion over its worth.”
Or, as Berkman puts it:
“It’s always about money,” Berkman said. “No matter what people say, it’s always about the money.”
Berkman took what was, essentially, a make-good deal this year, dropping from his $14.5 million in 2010 to an $8 million deal. No, that’s not chicken feed and it actually strains the definition of “make-good contract,” but the fact was that he took some risk. If he had flopped in 2011, he’d have nothing to look forward to but one-year deals at around a million per, with the Reggie Sanders career path being his best case scenario.
But he made good. Both with the bat and in terms of his conditioning and defensive flexibility. He gave the Cardinals the most anyone could have expected from an age-35 Lance Berkman, and now he’d like to be paid like a dude who hit .296/.407/.550. I can’t say I blame him.
Not that Berkman is being unreasonable. According to the report, he simply wants a one-year deal without performance incentives and stuff. If I’m the Cardinals, I balk at him wanting, like, three years or something at this age. And it’s not like I’m going to pay him $15 million no matter the duration. But if he simply wants a one-year deal at the market rate for an excellent corner outfielder/first baseman approaching his latter years, I’m not sure why I wouldn’t give it to him. Because someone else certainly will.
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.