In the same story that mentioned the Dodgers’ interest in Torii Hunter, Bob Nightengale of USA Today also noted that the Rangers recently tried to acquire shortstop Andrelton Simmons from the Braves.
Why would the Rangers do this? Well, general manager Jon Daniels isn’t interested in giving up either Elvis Andrus or top prospect Jurickson Profar in a trade for Diamondbacks’ outfielder Justin Upton, so the plan was to flip Simmons to Arizona. Interesting idea, but the Braves didn’t bite.
It’s not clear what the Rangers offered for Simmons, but Mike Olt’s name likely came up in conversations since the Braves could be in the market for a new third baseman following Chipper Jones’ retirement. So far the Diamondbacks have been reluctant to accept Olt as a centerpiece of a deal for Upton, instead preferring either Andrus or Profar. We heard last night that if the Rangers can’t find a match with the Diamondbacks, the Rays may be positioned as to emerge as front-runners.
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.