FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal heard Saturday that Japanese ace Yu Darvish is expected to be posted soon after this week’s annual Winter Meetings in Dallas, Texas. But that might not be the case.
In an update to his Saturday column, Rosenthal writes that Darvish’s father is telling news services in Japan that his son might not make himself available to major league teams until mid-to-late January and that it’s only 50-50 that he actually accepts a deal.
The uncertainty is natural — Darvish would be leaving his comfort zone in Japan and taking on great expectations in the majors — but waiting until a month or so before the start of spring training would almost certainly mean disaster for the right-hander’s market value. MLB teams can’t afford to be patient when it comes to filling vacant starting rotation spots.
Darvish, 25, posted an 18-7 record, a 1.44 ERA and a 276/36 K/BB ratio across 232 innings this past season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. He has a 1.99 career ERA over seven seasons in Japan.
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.