Detroit’s top prospect is rapidly falling out of the mix for a rotation spot.
Jacob Turner, who gave up six runs — five earned — in 1 2/3 innings Monday against the Mets, has been shut down for a few days due to a “dead-arm period,” said manager Jim Leyland.
Though he’s just 20, Turner looked like the favorite to act as the Tigers’ fifth starter at the start of camp. Now it’s Andrew Oliver, who has pitched seven scoreless innings in official games and three more in an exhibition against a college team earlier this month. Drew Smyly, who has allowed one run in four innings, is also in the mix.
Turner got brought up in most the Tigers’ trade talks over the winter, with several teams trying to pry him away. The ninth overall pick in the 2009 draft, he had a 3.44 ERA and a 110/35 K/BB ratio in 131 innings between Double- and Triple-A last year. He went 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA in three late starts for Detroit.
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.