Marco Scutaro hit .362 in 61 regular season games for the Giants, was named MVP of the NLCS, and delivered the World Series-winning hit in Game 4 last night.
It was one helluva stint in San Francisco for the 37-year-old veteran and made even more amazing by the fact that three months ago Scutaro was playing for a last-place team and playing pretty poorly too.
Before the Rockies traded Scutaro to the Giants on July 27 he hit just .271 with a .324 on-base percentage and .361 slugging percentage in 95 games. To put in some context, consider that Scutaro’s batting average (.362) with the Giants was higher than his slugging percentage (.361) with the Rockies and his .684 OPS for Colorado was the worst mark of his entire career despite calling Coors Field home.
Away from the best hitter’s ballpark in baseball Scutaro hit .238 with a .570 OPS in 47 games for the Rockies, who traded him for a non-prospect and then watched him hit .362 in the regular season and .328 in the postseason.
Scutaro said it best when asked about his journey from playing poorly on a last-place team to starring on the World Series winners: “This is a dream come true. If anybody would’ve told me in late June that I was going to be in the World Series, or I was going to be a world champ, I would’ve slapped you in the face.”
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.