Not at baseball. I mean, that’s not news. Of course he’s a master at baseball. First ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest ever. You knew that. I’m talking about his media game.
Take this story in the New York Daily News. Jeter, once again, being asked about A-Rod stuff. He responds to the questions. He doesn’t cut things off. But, of course, he doesn’t say a word, really. “It is what it is . . .” “It’s a complicated situation . . .” “We know he’s not here . . .” a lot of that, but not one thing that is a headline grabber. Not one thing that becomes sports talk radio fodder. Nothing that can be said to be controversial or provocative.
Which is by no means a criticism of Derek Jeter. Indeed, it’s 100% the right thing to do if you’re Derek Jeter because if he says something provocative the dozens of people covering Yankees baseball will beat it up and around and left and right for days. Jeter has never once, in nearly 20 years, given the media the opportunity to do that to him.
His ability to be both cordial yet totally non-controversial when it comes to this sort of thing is just uncanny. I mean, ask yourself: if you spent 20 years responding to people you knew had it in their best interests to get a rise out of you or have you say something silly, how many years could you go without spouting off at them? Without snapping at them? One? Five? Maybe ten? I bet no one could. Jeter has.
I say this with complete and utter sincerity: Jeter’s ability to play in New York as long as he has without ever stepping in it or getting into a dustup is one of the more amazing things about him. It’s highly underrated too. When he retires she should open up an athlete media consulting business charging jocks $10K an hour to team them how not to mess up with the press.
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.