This is a few days old, but per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard thinks he can still be a 30-100 guy (as in 30 home runs and 100 RBI). Howard has been slowed by injuries ever since he tore his Achilles tendon making the final out in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Cardinals. He missed the final three months of the 2013 season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee as well.
Howard, however, looks at what David Ortiz has accomplished and wonders “why not me?”
“Everybody in this league has experienced success on every level that they’ve played,” he said. “You have success and then you have a little bit of turmoil. It’s how you find a way to get back to that success, like Marlon Byrd, like David Ortiz. Age doesn’t play a factor.”
“Can I be a 30-100 guy?” he said. “Yeah, I definitely think so. I believe in my ability. I hear what people say. It’s cool. You guys are all entitled to your opinions. But let’s say I come back and I do what I do. Then what? If I come back and put up numbers like ’07, ’08, ’09, then what? Are we having these conversations?”
Howard last accomplished the 30-100 feat in 2011 and he just turned 34 years old. Since 2010, the only players 34 years old or older to hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs are Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, and Alex Rodriguez. In the 2013 season alone, only ten players achieved the goal regardless of age: Ortiz, Soriano, Chris Davis, Miguel Cabrera, Pedro Alvarez, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, Adam Jones, and Jay Bruce. The ten instances in 2013 are down from 19 in 2009.
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.