We weren’t expecting that.
Jon Heyman reports that the Braves have traded Derek Lowe to the Cleveland Indians. Buster Olney says that the Braves will eat $10 million of the $15 million left on Lowe’s contract and that the Indians will send back “second tier” player(s) in return. UPDATE: The player going from Cleveland to Atlanta is left handed reliever Chris Jones. No, I dunno either.
Lowe had a horrendous 2011 season, going 9-17 with a 5.05 ERA and a WHIP of 1.508, though there is some suggestion that he was a touch better than that record and ERA would lead you to believe. Still, he’s not been good and he’s in a downward trajectory, as a good late run in 2010 helped salvage what, to that point, had been an equally suspect season.
It would appear that the best thing Lowe has going for him right now is durability, in that he’s made at least 32 starts a year for a solid decade. Which, while not nothing, is not much to pin one’s hopes on. Lowe will turn 39 on June 1st, after all, so you can’t really count on him having too many more bounceback seasons, can you?
That said, for the Indians, a $5 million gamble is not a terrible one. For the Braves, not having Derek Lowe throw actual pitches in baseball games and saving $5 million is pretty OK under the circumstances too. So, while it’s too much to call this “win-win” we can probably call it “not-lose-not-lose.”
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.