Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees should hope that Tanaka is as disastrous as A-Rod

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You know you’ve reached peak A-Rod Derangement Syndrome when you use his experience with the Yankees as a warning sign. That’s what Joel Sherman does today at the New York Post. Here’s the tweet teasing the article:

And here’s the article. The upshot is just what the tweet implies: yes, everyone is happy on the day of the signing, but you never know what you’re going to get. With the “what you’re going to get” with A-Rod being painted as awful — the story literally says his example does not represent “success” — despite all the hope and promise his signing suggested back in 2004. Which is a pretty audacious level of revisionism.

What’s not in the article? Any mention that A-Rod led them to their last World Series title. That he won two MVP Awards in pinstripes. That in ten years with the Yankees he put up a line of .291/.386/.534 with 309 homers and 979 RBI, winning three Silver Slugger Awards. That during his tenure the Yankees won six division titles and won fewer than 90 games only twice (once when they won 89, once when he missed most of the season). That the Yankees were first in attendance every single year A-Rod played for them.

I’m not suggesting that A-Rod’s contract, financially speaking, ended up being the best deal. Nor am I suggesting the team-wide success and financial success of the franchise is attributable to A-Rod only. I am saying, however, that any suggestion that A-Rod was, in the aggregate, bad for the New York Yankees, takes a special kind of crazy and requires a special kind of denial of how good a baseball player and draw he was.

And, if Masahiro Tanaka is as successful with the Yankees as A-Rod was — if he wins a couple Cy Young Awards, routinely rates as one of the top pitchers in baseball and is part of a World Series champion — I don’t think that anyone would claim that the deal was a bad one like so many wish to do regarding A-Rod now.

Orioles are eying Welington Castillo as their primary catcher target

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Welington Castillo #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up prior to taking an at bat against the Baltimore Orioles in the second inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 25, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Phillies agree to minor league deal with Daniel Nava

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 12:  Daniel Nava #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during the game against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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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.