The Giants made headlines earlier today when they signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a five-year, $90 million contract extension. With that hurdle cleared, the Giants are now focusing on keeping starter Tim Lincecum around, reports Hank Schulman.
Though Lincecum has had a tough couple of years, he has been the biggest reason for their recent success, taking home back-to-back NL Cy Young awards in 2008 and ’09, and contributing to their championships in 2010 and ’12. Since the start of the 2012 season, however, Lincecum has a 4.76 ERA over 65 starts. He has shown promise at times and has looked better lately, posting a 3.66 ERA in his last six starts to wrap up the season.
Lincecum earned $22 million this season, the last of a two-year, $40.5 million extension signed in January 2012. CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly suggests Lincecum could fetch $30 million over three years on the open market, so the Giants would need to present a competitive offer.
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.