Sports Business Journal puts a list together each year naming the most influential people in sports business. The new one is out and Bud Selig is pretty darn high on that list: number 2.
Now, number one and number 16 happen to be my bosses, so I don’t want Bud getting too big a head about all of this (Will Bud return my calls now? I’m pretty sure he has to based on the rankings), but that’s a pretty amazing showing for the head of Major League Baseball. A league which has long been maligned when it comes to business savvy and all of that.
But SBJ is right here: Selig pretty much kicked butt and took names this year, be it throwing Frank McCourt to the curb to seeing revenues go up again to getting a collective bargaining agreement in place without any blood on the floor. At least any of his own.
Other baseball heavy hitters on the list: John Henry and Hal Steinbrenner. MLB Executive VP of Business Tim Brosnan. MLBPA honcho Michael Weiner. MLBAM head Bob Bowman.
People still like to use the tired old line about Selig being a car salesman, but the league is a long way from the days when small business owners with small vision were in charge. It’s just an incredibly sophisticated enterprise these days, and there are a lot of really competent people running things.
Which is boring for a blogger like me, but it is great for the league.
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.