Ervin Santana and Coors Field is a match made in homer-allowing heaven and sure enough the Angels right-hander served up two more long balls versus the Rockies yesterday.
(He also got the “win” while allowing seven runs in 5.2 innings, because pitcher “wins” are hilarious.)
Santana has now allowed 18 homers in 80 innings spread over 13 starts, which puts him on pace to allow 46 homers on the season. That would tie Santana for the third-highest total in baseball history:
Bert Blyleven 1986 50
Jose Lima 2000 48
Bronson Arroyo 2011 46
Bert Blyleven 1987 46
Robin Roberts 1956 46
Four pitchers (including Bert Blyleven twice) have allowed more than 45 homers in a season. Two of them are in the Hall of Fame and the other two are both former All-Stars. Santana is also a former All-Star and he’s been a very solid starter for the Angels during the past seven seasons, throwing nearly 1,300 innings with a 4.22 ERA.
That includes a 3.38 ERA in 229 innings last season and a 3.92 ERA in 223 innings in 2010, so Santana’s decline to a 5.74 ERA is both homer-fueled and unexpected. Prior to this season his career-high for homers allowed was 27 and he’d served up an average of 25 homers per 200 innings. And now he’s allowed 18 in 80 innings and been bad enough that projecting his season total of 46 requires the leap of faith that he’ll actually remain in the Angels’ rotation all year.
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.