The Red Sox and Cubs were granted an extension last week to work out the lingering issue of compensation over Theo Epstein. However, since both sides are pretty busy interviewing managerial candidates and expressing interest to free agents, little progress has been made in recent days.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington hopes to change that real soon. He told Evan Drellich of MLB.com yesterday that he and Epstein are optimistic they can work out an agreement in person at the general manager meetings next week in Milwaukee.
“Theo and I have spoken a couple of times since I talked to you guys last,” Cherington said Wednesday at Fenway Park, a week after his last huddle with the media. “We traded some ideas and don’t have anything to report yet, but there’s at least been a couple more conversations.”
“The Commissioner’s Office is giving us some leeway on it if we feel like there’s progress being made,” Cherington said. “I think we’ll give ourselves until next week. We’ll see each other in person next week, at least give ourselves until then to see if there’s something we can’t figure out.”
This sounds like a broken record already, but if the two sides can’t reach an agreement by the end of next week, commissioner Bud Selig would likely step in as an arbitrator. I fully expect to do one post on this topic each week until the end of time.
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.