Jon Heyman reports that the Mariners believe David Price “would be theirs” if they agree to include Taijuan Walker in a trade but that, welp, they don’t want to include Walker in a trade. Or James Paxton for that matter. Rather, they’d like to build a trade for Price around position players. Presumably Dustin Ackley and Nick Franklin and guys like that.
Which, hey, good for them. But that’s not gonna get a trade for Price done.
And that may not be a bad thing. Walker, 21, is the Mariners top prospect and, depending on who you listen to, is someplace in the top five overall. He spent most of 2013 going between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma, posting an aggregate 2.93 ERA in 141.1 innings. He’s a guy who the M’s can and should expect to slot in behind Felix Hernandez for a long time and he should not be traded unless it’s for a damn good reason.
Price is a damn good player, of course, but he’s one who is only under team control for two more seasons and who will make a lot of money during that time. For him to stay around a lot longer it’ll take one of the larger long-term contracts a starting pitcher has ever received.
If the M’s are prepared to do that in addition to what they’ve spent on Robinson Cano — and if they’re prepared to continue to make moves to shore up the many weak spots on their team — well, cool, pull that trigger. But if they expect to make oly two big splashes and then let Price walk in two years, well, that won’t get it done and it will have made losing Walker a really bad choice in my view.
So: absent a change of plans, let us turn our attention more toward the Rangers, Dodgers and other teams who have been linked with Price.
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.