Chris Carpenter’s first career short-rest start didn’t go well Sunday in Philadelphia and when asked if he’d ever use a Phillies starter on short rest during the playoffs pitching coach Rich Dubee made it pretty clear that he’s against the idea:
Most real good players at this level get accustomed to a routine. Apparently that was Carpenter’s first whack at it. That’s a strange beast right there. You’re going from your normal side day. Then you’re third day generally you can kick back and relax mentally. The fourth day you get ready to pitch. Now all of a sudden you probably didn’t have a side day and you have shorter rest and shorter preparation time.
That’s about as close to criticizing the opposing manager as someone can come without making headlines and creating bulletin board material. And in terms of potential Tony La Russa nicknames I think “strange beast” is a pretty decent one, accidentally.
Of course, in fairness to La Russa there’s a whole lot less need to use a starter on short rest when you’re pitching coach for a team that has four No. 1 starters. Philadelphia’s rotation is so deep that Roy Oswalt is basically just a spot starter and Vance Worley is in the bullpen, so pushing Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee to pitch on three days rest isn’t really necessary even if Dubee agreed with the strategy.
With that said, Todd Zolecki of MLB.com notes that Dubee has also been true to his word in past seasons when the Phillies weren’t quite as stacked with aces, resisting the urge to use go short rest with Cole Hamels in the 2007 NLDS, Cliff Lee in the 2009 World Series, and Roy Halladay in last year’s playoffs. Things might be different if the choice was between, say, Halladay on short rest or Joe Blanton, but Ruben Amaro Jr. has made sure Dubee and manager Charlie Manuel never have to make that type of call.
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.