R.A. Dickey returned to the United States on Tuesday after successfully reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro last week.
Dickey’s former teammate and current Rockies right-hander Kevin Slowey and Mets bullpen catcher Dave Raccaniello also participated in the climb, which was part of an effort to raise money and awareness for the Bombay Teen Challenge, an organization dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking in India.
You’ll recall that the Mets sent a letter to Dickey prior to the climb reminding him that they could void his contract in the event that he suffers an injury. Well, they quickly made amends with the knuckleballer once it was clear he was out of harm’s way. Dickey told David Waldstein of the New York Times that the group surpassed their goal of raising $100,000 with the help of a donation from Mets’ CEO Jeff Wilpon.
“He offered his congratulations and made a generous contribution,” Dickey said. “I understood their concerns, and I thought it was a great gesture on their part to help out in the end.”
Well done all around. While the immediate future doesn’t look very promising for the Mets, they are pretty darn fortunate to have someone like Dickey representing the organization.
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.