If you have been out of the loop for the past few hours on this Fourth of July, you missed a wild one at Citi Field. Fending off a pair of dramatic comebacks, the Diamondbacks defeated the Mets 5-4 in 15 innings. It took five hours and 46 minutes to get a winner.
The game was tied 2-2 through nine innings behind solid performances by Ian Kennedy and Dillon Gee, but the Diamondbacks eventually took the lead in the 13th inning when David Aardsma walked Cody Ross with the bases loaded. Heath Bell then came on for the save chance, but after getting the first two outs, he gave up a game-tying solo home run to Anthony Recker. The Diamondbacks responded in the 14th inning with an RBI single by Martin Prado, but the Mets came back to tie it again on another solo home run, this time by Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Yes, back-to-back innings with game-tying homers. Wild stuff.
The Diamondbacks moved ahead for good in the top of the 15th inning when Cliff Pennington singled off Scott Rice to bring home Gerardo Parra. The Mets had runners at second and third against Brad Ziegler in the bottom of the frame when Nieuwenhuis came up to the plate with two outs, but he didn’t have any heroics in store this time, as he grounded out harmlessly to first base to end it. It had to end sometime.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the last team to have two game-tying home runs in extra innings was the 1998 Cardinals. That’s not the only oddity about today’s game, as Adam Rubin of ESPN New York notes that it helped secure the longest four-game series in MLB — in terms of time played — since the Dodgers and Astros in 1989.
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.