We talked yesterday about Davey Johnson being forced out of Washington, perhaps against his will. Same thing seems to be going on with Charlie Manuel in Philly.
Jim Salisbury from CSNPhilly.com quotes Ruben Amaro as being adamant that no discussions about Charlie Manuel’s status beyond 2013 will be had until after the season. Manuel is said to be on board with that approach as well, but Salisbury also says that Manuel wants to manage beyond this year. Waiting in the wings: Ryne Sandberg, the third base coach who is widely viewed as the heir apparent.
If the Phillies struggle this year it’s likely a non-issue as it will be time for a reassessment of the roster. At that point a new face in the dugout makes sense. But what if the Phillies bounce back? What if they make the playoffs? Does Charlie get a one year deal? More to the point, if it’s obvious that the Phillies are heading back to the playoffs come August, does Amaro change his stance on in-season negotiating?
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.