Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that the Pirates have acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the Mets. Earlier in the day it was reported that the two had been placed on waivers and claimed by an unknown team. Now we know. In return the Mets are getting minor leaguer Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later.
Byrd has been something of a revelation for the Mets this year, hitting .285/.330/.518 with 21 homers. Buck started the year incredibly strong but has since been relegated to backup catching duties as the Mets are giving Travis d’Arnaud a shot to be their everyday catcher. Neither Buck nor Byrd are under contract beyond this year. Any hopes that the Mets would hold on to them for a potentially-contending 2014 season were probably dashed with Matt Harvey’s season coming to an end and his 2014 likely being a washout.
For the Pirates, Byrd will represent an offensive infusion for the stretch run as he will likely take the everyday role from Jose Tabata in left. At least assuming he keeps up what he’s been doing. Buck will provide depth as a backup to Russell Martin. Neither guy is a game-changer, but as the season comes down to the end, every little bit helps.
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.