The 2013 season in Toronto opened with so much promise, but the first half of April has brought only disappointment to Blue Jays fans. Not only have big acquisitions R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle all gotten off to terrible starts, but now Jose Reyes is expected to miss 1-3 months with an ankle sprain suffered on a steal attempt Friday.
“It’s a nightmare, he’s a big part of this team,” manager John Gibbons told the Toronto Sun. “He’s the face of this team in a lot of ways. We’ve got to deal with it, the train keeps moving, the game keeps going on. We’ve got to pick up the slack.”
While the Jays opened the season with nice offensive depth, it’s been tested sorely with Brett Lawrie and now Reyes absent. They’ll likely go with Emilio Bonifacio at short and Maicer Izturis at second for now. Mark DeRosa and Jose Bautista could split time at third until Lawrie returns. That will open up starts for Rajai Davis in right field in Bautista’s place.
Reyes has had plenty of hard luck with injuries — this will be the fourth season in the last five in which he’s spent time on the DL — but he has only himself to blame for this one. Looking back towards home plate on his steal of second, he lost track of where he was on the basepath and decided way too late to attempt the slide.
Here’s the video:
An MRI will give the Jays a better idea of whether Reyes’ absence will be of the 4-6 week variety or something closer to 8-12. Either way, they’ll probably look outside the organization for some shortstop help. In the meantime, Ryan Goins will likely be called up to serve as a backup.
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.