Well, this has devolved into farce. Porter Fischer, the ex-Biogenesis employee who claims to have a so-called “smoking gun” regarding Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and the rest of the Biogenesis players, has demanded $1 million from Major League Baseball for his cooperation. From TMZ:
Alex Rodriguez’ career could hang in the balance of a 7-figure check — because sources tell TMZ, the whistleblower who allegedly has proof A-Rod and other players bought steroids wants at least a million bucks for his info … Fischer’s attorney tells TMZ, his client discussed a possible deal with MLB … in which the league would acquire the drug-purchasing records of more than 100 MLB players (including A-Rod and Ryan Braun) — but it’s gonna cost ’em.
TMZ says MLB has not made an offer. Given that this Fischer dude appears to be something of [searches for a polite word] an eccentric, one wonders whether baseball is willing to play ball with him. Of course, if he does cooperate with MLB the first question is going to be whether Major League Baseball made him rich in order to offer evidence against players, so that’s fun too.
UPDATE: Just occurred to me: Major League Baseball has a lawsuit pending against Biogenesis and Anthony Bosch. Fischer was an employee and now claims to have all the information about the operation. Why doesn’t MLB simply amend the lawsuit to add Fischer and then obtain the documents in discovery? That would not cost $1 million. That would cost virtually nothing. Could it be that, perhaps, MLB realizes its lawsuit is baloney? Or, perhaps, that Fischer actually doesn’t know anything and thus is not a proper party? In which case his status as the Whistleblower-in-Chief/star witness is kinda silly?
Which is it, Mr. Selig?
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.