Bob Nightengale sat down for an interview with Dodgers owner Mark Walter and team president Stan Kasten yesterday. And if there was any notion that Walter is going to be some sort of behind the scenes, business-oriented owner, it was put to rest.
Walter sends Kasten trade ideas all the time. He talks about how damn frustrating it was to see the Dodgers not be able to hit against the Rockies, essentially saying, “hey, their pitchers suck, why can’t we hit them?” And, he says, the Dodgers are going to become as dominant in the NL West as the Braves were in the East throughout the 90s:
They believe the Dodgers will become a dynasty, and when asked whether it’s possible for anyone to duplicate the Atlanta Braves’ era when they won 14 consecutive division titles with Kasten as president, they weren’t shy.
“It’s going to be done again,” Walter said, “this time on the West Coast. Oh, sorry.”
Kasten, briefly taken aback by the bravado, said: “I’m saying, ‘Yes.’ But that’s all I’m going to say.”
I like owners to be fans. I like them wanting to win. While you don’t want a guy to constantly meddle or turn into some sort of old Steinbrenner/Loria figure, I sorta hope Walter becomes one of those hands-on owners who is happy when the team wins and loudly complains when they lose. It’d be good for business.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.