The Home Run Derby created some unexpected drama when Mets third baseman David Wright picked childhood friend Michael Cuddyer over Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez. This caught the ire of Pirates fans, who felt that Alvarez was much more deserving of a selection. On Thursday, Cuddyer’s teammate and fellow Derby participant Carlos Gonzalez bowed out due to a sprained right middle finger. Alvarez took his spot, at long last.
On Friday, the Mets opened up a three-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates to wrap up the first half. Though Alvarez was in the Derby, Pirates fans jeered Wright with varying degrees of enthusiasm throughout the weekend. This upset Mets manager Terry Collins, who insists Pirates fans “better reevaluate what’s going on”.
Via Rob Biertempfel:
“When you start booing David Wright, you better re-evaluate what’s going on,” Collins said after the Mets’ 4-2 win. “Because there’s nobody who plays the game any harder or who epitomizes what you want a major league player to be than David Wright, for heaven’s sakes.”
Collins is making a mountain out of a molehill here, as Wright never really had a full cascade of heckling the way Robinson Cano did last year from Kansas City fans. Cano had passed over Butler last year as the captain of the AL Derby squad. As the host of the All-Star Game festivities were held at Kaufmann Stadium, Butler’s home ballpark, Cano was lustily booed before he took his cuts in last year’s Derby, in which he went homerless. Wright has heard much, much worse from fans in Philadelphia and in the Bronx.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins say minor league pitcher Yorman Landa has died in Venezuela. He was 22.
The club said in a statement that the Twins are “deeply saddened by the heartbreaking loss.” The team did not say how he died.
Landa pitched in the 2016 season with the Fort Meyers Miracle, going 2-2 with 7 saves and a 3.24 ERA in 41 2/3 innings pitched. His career minor-league ERA was 2.66.
Landa had been on the Twins’ 40-man roster, but was dropped after the season. The organization signed him to a minor-league contract last week.
Landa was signed by the Twins in 2010 as a 16-year old from Santa Teresa, Venezuela.
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.