We have a new member of the BSOHL club and his name is Danny Espinosa.
During an appearance at NatsFest today, Espinosa told Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com that he hired a personal trainer this offseason and feels stronger now than he’s ever felt. However, there was an interesting quote among the typical offseason hyperbole, as Espinosa also said that he regrets playing through a broken wrist last season:
“I shouldn’t have [played]. But at the same time, I’m not the doctor reading the film. So yea, I shouldn’t have been playing on a broken wrist the whole year. Like I said, if you’re told you have a bruise, you play through a bruise. Everybody plays through bumps and bruises. I wouldn’t have played if I knew I had a broken wrist. I shouldn’t have been playing at all.”
Espinosa injured his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch in mid-April last year, but the Nationals kept putting him out there and he hit just .158/.193/.272 with three homers and a 47/4 K/BB ratio through 167 plate appearances prior to landing on the disabled list in early June. The 26-year-old returned to game action within two weeks with Triple-A Syracuse, but he struggled to the tune of a .216/.280/.286 batting line in 75 games and wasn’t recalled when rosters expanded in September.
Now that he’s apparently back to full health, Espinosa has been told by general manager Mike Rizzo and new manager Matt Williams that he’ll have a chance to win the starting second base job back during spring training. Anthony Rendon, who hit .265/.329/.396 in 98 games as a rookie last year, will obviously have something to say about that.
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.