Baseball and softball have been out of the Olympics since 2008 and they have repeatedly been shot down for reinstatement whenever the subject has come up. At present there is a rule that a sport can’t be reinstated or added to the Olympics without a seven-year advanced notice. But there is a chance that the International Olympic Committee may change this:
New IOC president Thomas Bach said Monday he expects discussion by the IOC membership at its general meeting on flexibility toward adding sports, for which the Olympic Charter has a seven-year rule. It mandates sports must be on the Olympic program seven years before the summer or winter Olympics in which they will be contested.
“If the opportunity exists to make such adjustments to the Olympic Games less than seven years before, I would be in favor,” Bach said. “If the IOC, the international federations and the organizing committee agree, the seven-year rule need not apply.”
The significance: the summer Olympics will be in Tokyo in 2020 and Japan is certainly receptive and ready to host baseball games. Indeed, you would assume that Japan would love to have baseball there as a gate draw and point of national pride for its national game.
Personally I could take it or leave it as an Olympic sport. I don’t get too jazzed by the WBC as it is and I’m not sure what adding it back to the Olympics would do either for the game in general or for people who already enjoy baseball at its highest levels. Still, somewhat interesting.
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.