Buster Olney is on vacation this week and, in his place, various players have been writing guest columns at the beginning of his daily link post. Today it’s Yoenis Cespedes. Mostly it’s about adjusting to life in the United States. It’s pretty interesting.
Part of what’s interesting: two of the A’s players he singles out for credit in helping him adjust. On of them is Bartolo Colon, who, along with Jordan Norberto, he calls “my adoptive family,” and says that he doesn’t even want to imagine what would have happened without them. I guess he’ll have to figure out how to live with Colon now.
But the one to which he gives the most effusive credit? Yup, Manny:
Manny Ramirez provided invaluable support during spring training … During spring training, Manny told me I would hit in the majors and that I only had to work hard every day. Having the opportunity to work closely with someone who has been as extraordinary as Manny is something I will never forget.
I noticed when I was in Phoenix for spring training that the A’s had put Cespedes’ locker right next to Manny’s and that Manny was the only one I saw him talking to apart from his translator, Ariel Prieto.
It’s almost as if the A’s and Cespedes don’t believe all of that “Manny is a clubhouse cancer” stuff that everyone accepts as gospel.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.
The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.
Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.
Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.
Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.
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.