The Dodgers and shortstop Hanley Ramirez could get a contract extension done over the winter, reports Dionisio Soldevila of ESPN Deportes. Ramirez has one more year and $16 million remaining on the six-year, $70 million extension he signed with the Marlins back in May 2008.
Ramirez turns 30 years old in December. Despite injuries limiting his playing time in 2011 (shoulder surgery) and 2013 (thumb surgery, strained hamstring), he is rated as the second-best hitting shortstop in baseball since 2011, according to FanGraphs. Going by weighted on-base average (wOBA), Ramirez’s .353 mark trails only Troy Tulowitzki (.390).
Ramirez was a big reason why the Dodgers were able to get past the Braves in the 2013 NLDS. In four games, Ramirez had eight hits (six of them for extra bases) in 18 trips to the plate. Unfortunately, he was hit in the ribs by Cardinals starter Joe Kelly in Game 1 of the NLCS, which rendered him ineffective for the rest of the series. However, his post-season performance will be yet one more factor in Ramirez’s favor when negotiating a new contract. Also relevant is the contract shortstop Jhonny Peralta just signed with the Cardinals — $52 million over four years — as Ramirez is considered to be of a higher grade.
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.