We know the Marlins have made an offer to Albert Pujols. And we know that the Cardinals, obviously, are continuing to talk to him. Both Tim Brown of Yahoo! and Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch say, however, that at least three teams are “actively jockeying” for El Hombre.
No one knows the third team, however, so it’s … the Mystery Team.
Just want to go on record how mad I still am over the fact that Heyman ended up being right about the Mystery Team being interested in Cliff Lee last year. Was way more fun when the Mystery Team didn’t exist outside of agents’ weird leverage-creation scenarios. But now we know they do. And it can be anyone. And now they’re talking to Albert Pujols.
Hard to say who it could be. The Rangers and Dodgers have said they’re out. Maybe the Orioles have delusions of grandeur. Maybe the Cubs are going to get in on that. Hard to say. It all probably doesn’t matter. There have been reports — shot down by others, but reports all the same — that the Cardinals and Pujols are close to a deal and it will be announced tomorrow.
But that’s what we all thought about Cliff Lee too. Before we were overtaken by mystery.
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.