Trade rumors swirling around Dee Gordon seem to have died down, but Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times has an interesting note about the Dodgers shortstop:
The Dodgers have talked about moving the fleet-footed Gordon to the outfield but appear inclined to keep him at shortstop for now. Gordon figures to start the season at Triple-A Albuquerque.
“I hate to give up on him at short,” [manager Don] Mattingly said.
Gordon hasn’t hit well or fielded well in the majors so far, producing a measly .614 OPS and some terrible defensive numbers. His elite speed would be intriguing in center field, where range is far more important than sure-handedness, but barring a trade the Dodgers have Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier locked in as their starting outfield for a long time.
Hanley Ramirez is ahead of Gordon on the shortstop depth chart, but his moving back to third base could be an option at some point, especially if/when Luis Cruz comes back down to earth a bit. Whatever the case, at age 25 this is a crucial season for Gordon’s career.
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.