I got this in the mail recently. Not the Calvin and Hobbes picture. My son drew that. No, I mean the Frank Robinson statue.
The Orioles sent it to me (and as you can see, my son took it). And yes, I suppose they did so in order to persuade me to write about their promotion. But their promotion is designed in part to give everyone who takes advantage of it statues like these too. I want you all to have them, so I’m willing to be used.
The promotion: the Orioles Legends Celebration Series, in which the Orioles are unveiling statues of their past greats in the picnic area beyond center field at Camden Yards. They’re doing this for both the great players and Camden Yards itself, as the ballpark is celebrating its 20th anniversary. How on Earth Camden Yards is already 20 years-old I have no idea, but there you have it.
On unveiling days, they’re giving out replica statues like this one of Frank Robinson. His was already done in April– I suppose you can find one on eBay if you really wanted some — but there are five more to be done this season:
- Earl Weaver — June 30;
- Jim Palmer — July 14
- Eddie Murray — August 11
- Cal Ripken Jr. — September 6; and
- Brooks Robinson — September 29
I haven’t seen what the other ones look like, but I do hope that Weaver’s is of him arguing. Or perhaps holding forth about Don Stanhouse, team speed, Terry Crowley, Alice Sweet and her tomato plants. No, I’m not explaining that one. If you don’t know, go Google it. But make sure no kids or bosses are within a mile of you when you do.
Anyway, good show Orioles. These statues beat the heck out of bobbleheads. Now: when is the Randy Milligan statue being unveiled?
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:
Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.
The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.
Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.