Fun stuff from Phil Mushnick of the Post: he hates the fact that Robinson Cano doesn’t hustle. And he hates it even more that the Yankees broadcasters at YES don’t call Cano out for it. Really, he lays into the network for not noticing this, accusing them of being the Yankees’ Pravda or something:
So is the silence of Yankee TV commentators who for some reason — perhaps a lack of guidance from YES management or YES’ fear of having to hear from Yankee management — feel that we don’t know good baseball from bad … Yet, the Yankee TV guys, Ken Singleton, David Cone and Lou Piniella, ignored what had just happened. They passed on Cano’s inconceivable disregard for playing winning baseball before they even had a chance to change the subject. Piniella, three-time Manager of the Year for crying out loud, said nothing! Standard Cano, followed by standard TV indulgence.
I guess Mushnick doesn’t watch every game — or else he doesn’t read HBT — because if he did he would have remembered that just a couple of weeks ago YES’ Michael Kay spent a long time going after Cano for not hustling down the line. Oh well, I guess it doesn’t count if the only one doing it is the LEAD BROADCASTER ON THE NETWORK.
Not that it should matter. Joe Girardi has been asked about Cano’s habit of not running out 4-3 grounders at full speed all the time and Girardi says he doesn’t care. Nor should he, given that Cano is the one superstar he’s got who has been consistently healthy and given that the dude is hitting .307/.386/.510.
Maybe the failure to give 110% when it doesn’t matter is bothersome to people, but I’ll take that line and some occasional jogging over a guy who busts it down the line in the course of making far more outs or a guy who pulls a hamstring in the name of empty, showy hustle.
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:
Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.
The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.
Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.