Via our friend Nick Collias comes the translation of an interview Tigers closer Jose Valverde gave to Mañana Deportiva on Dominican radio the other day. Valverde has lost weight. And he has a nice description of Prince Fielder:
“I lost 40 pounds, because I was very obese.”
“I had to undergo that process because I was overweight. I ate healthily, something that a lot of players don’t do since we eat late, without caring what type of food it is. I hired a chef in order to better care for my food. You can even eat five times a day. The quantity doesn’t matter, but rather the quality.”
“After undergoing that diet process, there’s a change in the field, even during these early training days. My energy is much better. I feel more awake in the practices. It’s a overall change that I’ve given my body, in all senses.
About Prince Fielder: “As we say in the Dominican, Fielder is a block. He’s very strong, muscular. For his size and weight, he runs well. He goes after the ball like a man, not like a boy.”
“He goes after the ball like a man, not a boy.” I like that. I think I’ll use that in the ATH recaps a few dozen times this year.
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.