During a radio appearance on 98.5 “The Sports Hub” in Boston this afternoon Red Sox owner John Henry explained that he “personally opposed” the team’s decision to sign free agent Carl Crawford to a seven-year, $142 million contract last offseason.
Henry said that he ultimately deferred to general manager Theo Epstein and the front office decision-makers, adding:
We had plenty of left-handed hitting. I don’t have to go into why. I’ll just tell you that at the time I opposed the deal, but I don’t meddle to the point of making decisions for our baseball team.
Which is how an owner should be, although going on the radio to say you opposed a $142 million decision by the GM who just happens to be on his way out of town seems a little shady considering how various unsavory details about Terry Francona’s tenure magically appeared as soon as he was no longer the manager.
On the other hand, at the time of the Crawford signing Epstein did say that he had to talk ownership into the move and Henry also said during the same interview today that “I would have loved for Theo to be our GM for the next 20 years … I did everything I could personally to make that happen.”
And then when it didn’t happen, he went on radio to distance himself and the team from one of Epstein’s biggest moves, which seems to be the Red Sox’s modus operandi when it comes to longtime employees leaving the organization. Oh, and surely Crawford will love hearing about how the owner of the team he’s signed with through 2017 didn’t want him in the first place.
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.