Stop me if you’ve heard this story before: Erik Bedard has been pitching well for his new team, but an injury forced him from a start and now his health status is uncertain.
In the 2012 version of that seemingly annual occurrence Bedard signed with the Pirates as a free agent and posted a 2.65 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 34 innings through six starts, but had to leave yesterday’s game in the second inning due to back spasms.
Here’s how Bedard explained the injury to Tom Singer of MLB.com:
It just locked up on me. You can’t move. It wasn’t as bad as the last time it happened. I’ll take some muscle relaxers, and should be better in a couple of days.
“The last time it happened” was 2008, when Bedard was pitching for the Mariners and pitched through back spasms with quite a bit of success before being shut down for the season in July with a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery.
In the three following seasons Bedard started a total of 39 games (with a 3.39 ERA), so the Pirates knew what they were getting into with a one-year, $4.5 million deal. They were probably just hoping he’d last more than six weeks in the rotation, particularly considering how good he’s looked in between injuries.
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.