As expected Mets reliever Tim Byrdak has decided to undergo shoulder surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule, which potentially could end the 39-year-old’s career.
Byrdak told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York that his goal is to return late next season, but he understands how difficult that may be:
It’s been a very emotional two days. The hardest part was talking to my two little guys and telling them there’s a real good chance that dad might not play big league baseball no more. It’s something I can’t avoid. I could try to do the rehab. But my way of life–I want to play catch with my sons, I want to coach them and throw BP to them and stuff like that–and if I want to do that, I have to have this thing fixed
Byrdak had a pretty nice career considering he didn’t secure a regular gig in the majors until age 33. From that point on he logged 269 innings with a 3.62 ERA and has earned more than $5 million.
Rubin notes that Mets pitchers Johan Santana and Chris Young had the same surgery previously, with Santana returning after 20 months and Young returning after 13 months.
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.