Awful news from Alex Remington, who has become the caretaker of Mac Thomason’s Braves Journal. Mac has been moved to hospice. Nothing in life is certain, but it seems like Mac’s years-long battle with cancer is nearing its end.
I wrote about Mac last October when his prognosis became bleak and he set off from his home in Alabama to go to Philadelphia for experimental treatment. Always one to (jokingly) hate on anything and everything that is not the Atlanta Braves, I’m sure Mac has felt no small amount of irony being in Philly all of this time. After all, he taught me everything I know about Philly trolling. I force it, but for him it was effortless. Like this sort of thing, from the beginning of some random series against the Phillies sometime in the past few years:
“Philadelphia, known as “The City of Brotherly Love” ever since Benjamin Franklin invented sarcasm in 1767, is the largest city in Pennsylvania and a suburb of New York.”
Always droll and always cranky. And his readers love him for it.
There’s no way I’m doing what I do today if it weren’t for Mac. I had let my baseball fandom wane a great bit by the time I stumbled over Braves Journal. He allowed me to catch up when life seemed too busy for baseball, and eventually it became so enjoyable catching up over at Braves Journal each day I made the time for it. All because a university librarian from Alabama had nothing better to do with his nights than watch every single Braves game and recap it. And yeah, I pretty much ripped off the tone of his recaps for “And That Happened.”
Here’s hoping Mac’s final days, if indeed these are his final days, are comfortable and peaceful. Thanks for your inspiration, Mac.
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.