Reader snowbirdgothic, commenting on the David Eckstein/Pujols story this morning, pretty much nails the nature of free agency speculation in the sporting press:
Somewhere, there’s a lonely, honest sportswriter who’s going to pen a piece called “Albert Pujols is going somewhere they’re going to back up a dump truck full of money to his house, and none of this other crap matters, but we can’t say that and we have column inches to fill.”
He will then, immediately, be fired, and his replacement will do 1200 words on how Rex Hudler believes that if Pujols goes to Chicago, he’s not a true Cardinal.
It really is that simple. There are a handful of people who actually know stuff, and even they don’t know it until right before something is announced. The rest of us are mostly just farting around. Nothing wrong with that — farting around is a lot of fun and gets us through the winter — but let’s not pretend it’s anything more than farting around.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.
The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.
Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.
Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.
Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.
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.