The Dodgers are set to open their season with a two-game series against the Diamondbacks at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia from March 22 and 23. Zack Greinke is tentatively scheduled pitch the second game of the series, but he told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles today that he’s not looking forward to making the trip:
“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement for it,” Greinke told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”
Tell us how you really feel, Zack.
Greinke made sure to point out that he understands the series is “for the greater good of baseball,” but it’s easy to understand why he (and others who won’t go on the record) would be annoyed or inconvenienced by it. Players had to report to spring training earlier than normal and will receive fewer opportunities to play in exhibition games before the start of the season. They’ll also have to deal with some lag time between the end of the series in Australia and the traditional MLB Opening Day. The trip likely won’t have any bearing on how the season plays out for either team, but it’s just a weird way to begin the year. Of course, they are getting paid millions of dollars to play, so sympathies will be hard to come by.
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.