Roy Halladay spoke at length with the media after last night’s loss. A lot of Phillies fans sent me the article quoting him because of the stuff he said about the state of the team and all of that. It’s interesting in its own right because Halladay has never been the most loquacious player.
But I found his stuff about Carlos Ruiz’s ejection for arguing balls and strikes while on defense the most interesting:
“He didn’t turn around, he didn’t get in his face, he didn’t use obscene language,” Halladay said. “He simply said the pitch was a strike. He said it a couple times. I don’t know. I’ve never seen one like that before. And it’s unfortunate, because he’s our best player and he gets run out of the game, really for saying a pitch is a strike. I’ve never seen one like that.
David Murphy noted his surprise at the quote, as it’s rare that you hear someone calling Chooch the Phillies’ “best player.” He may very well be given how well he’s hitting at a premium defensive position, but it’s not something you hear very often. As Murphy says, you hear a lot of Ruiz being underrated or important or that he’s the “heart and soul,” but a flat-out declaration that he’s “the best” is interesting.
Also interesting: Halladay said the Phillies have “great chemistry.” Which is something people rarely say about a team that’s struggling. It’s usually some post-hoc description of a team that’s doing great, with the chemistry being the result of the relaxation that comes from success. I usually call b.s. on that, but I think it’s way more significant when it comes from a player as opposed to a reporter. And way more significant when it happens when things aren’t going well as opposed to when they are.
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.