The Athletics had their FanFest over the weekend. As we mentioned the other day, owner Lew Wolff met fans and heard complaints. Said complaints were lodged in one-on-one sessions with said fans, so we didn’t get to hear them, but based on the article at MLB.com about it, it sounds like Wolff met with some displeasure but nothing notable. Not terribly surprising. I suppose that if you’re THAT angry at the A’s you’re not gonna bother showing up to FanFest to begin with.
Also of note: Wolff thinks the A’s target date for opening in a new ballpark is 2016. He’s also pretty open to Manny Ramirez joining the team.
The quote of the day, however, didn’t come from Wolff. It came from the Athletics’ number one starter Brandon McCarthy:
“I know there are a lot of people who have had questions about the moves that have been made, but I do like the front office stepping up, answering questions and showing that there is a path that we’re taking and there’s reasons for all of this. It’s not just drunk monkeys throwing at a dartboard. People have a plan, and they’re trying to do something.”
I was a big fan of “Moneyball,” both the book/movie and the concept. But I think I’d be even more excited if the new inefficiency in building a ballclub was drunk monkeys throwing things. And the best part: I bet that stuff would actually work in the playoffs.
NOTE: In the off chance that my undergraduate primatology Professor Lori Sheerhan is reading this, yes, I am quite aware that the picture accompanying this article is a drunk ape, not a drunk monkey. Also know that, over the past 20 years, I have had far more occasion to use all of the anthropology stuff you taught me when picking up my minor than I have any of the political science stuff I learned in my major, so thanks.
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.