Opening Day for the Mets could be very uninspiring. With Johan Santana unlikely to be ready, it is looking like David Wright and Daniel Murphy could join him on the bench, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin:
If David Wright and Murphy both open the season on the DL, Collins added, he likely would use Justin Turner at third base and Valdespin at second base to open the season. After Valdespin dabbled in the outfield in Grapefruit League games, Collins has restored him to second base because of Murphy’s situation.
Valdespin, who homered to lead off the bottom of the first and reached base in all three of his plate appearances Sunday, also likely would lead off. He also had a leadoff homer against Justin Verlander last Monday.
Valdespin hit .241 with a .286 on-base percentage in 206 plate appearances with the Mets last year as a 24-year-old rookie. Turner, who last got regular playing time as a starter in 2011, has a career .678 OPS. Needless to say, downgrading from Wright and Murphy to Turner and Valdespin will be a blow to the lineup.
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.