Over at Yahoo’s Big League Stew, Dave Brown peppered Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista with questions from a wide avenue of subjects. One of those subjects pertained to beards — his, and those of his major league peers. Bautista, of course, has a magnificent beard and he explained how he keeps it maintained so consistently.
Brown then asked Bautista what he thinks of some of the scragglier beards around the league, such as those that belong to Derek Norris and Sean Doolittle of the Athletics. Bautista isn’t having it:
DB: Whose beard in this room impresses you? Should you say Derek Norris?
Jose: No! Or [Sean] Doolittle, either. It doesn’t impress me because they don’t do anything to it. They just let it go. No maintenance, there’s no effort into it.
DB: You don’t appreciate the joie de vivre, the free spirit, the letting go?
Jose: I do, but it doesn’t impress me enough to admire the beard.
Bautista really should give credit to both for having the willpower for letting the beard grow out the way they have, though. That type of beard is itchy — particularly in the in-between phase, when it’s not a well-manicured beard but it’s not a caveman beard yet — and it requires a lot of maintenance, lest one invite bugs and birds to build nests inside. It’s a free country and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but to paraphrase the great Voltaire, “I may not like your beard, but I’ll defend to the death your right to grow it.”
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.