Ivan Rodriguez

UPDATE: Royals inquire about Ivan Rodriguez, who is “not ready” to join team

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UPDATE: Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that, contrary to Heyman’s report, the Royals have not made an offer to Rodriguez or invited him to camp. The club has “inquired” about the veteran backstop, but have also looked into “20 or more” players.

Hard to tell whether an official offer was ever actually made, but Moore told Heyman that Rodriguez is not ready to join the team right now. It’s not clear why that is, but I can’t imagine there are any other legitimate chances for playing time out there at this point. Perhaps he’s injured or just not in the proper playing shape.

4:35 PM: In Heyman’s latest update, Royals’ general manager Dayton Moore said he was told that Rodriguez still wants to play “at some point,” but is not ready to join the team right now.

3:45 PM: Heyman reports that the Royals “admit” they have called Rodriguez to express interest, but it sounds like they’re downplaying whether they have made an official offer.

2:49 PM: In the wake of Salvador Perez’s knee injury, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star speculated yesterday morning that the Royals could have interest in 40-year-old Ivan Rodriguez as a stopgap option behind the plate. It appears he was right on the money.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Royals are interested in bringing Rodriguez to camp, but that’s he’s currently mulling the opportunity and hasn’t decided whether he’ll accept the offer. It’s not clear if he is fielding offers from other teams, though Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reported yesterday that the Rays were expected to look for catching depth.

Rodriguez was limited to just 44 games with the Nationals last season due to an oblique injury, batting .218/.281/.323 with two homers, 19 RBI and a .604 OPS over 137 plate appearances. However, he managed to throw out 13 of 25 (52 percent) of would-be basestealers. The 40-year-old backstop is 156 hits shy of 3,000 for his career.

If signed, Rodriguez would likely share the workload with Brayan Pena, who owns an underwhelming .251/.293/.359 batting line and a .652 OPS over 728 plate appearances in the majors.

Twins’ minor league pitcher Landa dies in Venezuela

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 05:  Yorman Landa #81 of the Minnesota Twins makes a throw to first base during the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Baltimore Orioles at Hammond Stadium on March 5, 2016 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.

The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.

Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.

Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.

Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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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.