Two offseasons ago the Twins acquired Vance Worley from the Phillies as part of the trade for Ben Revere. At the time Worley was 25 years old with a 3.50 ERA in 278 career innings and looked capable of being a solid, cheap middle-of-the-rotation starter for several seasons.
He started on Opening Day for Minnesota, but was disastrous with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts before getting demoted to the minors. Worley was so bad that the Twins removed him from the 40-man roster after the season and he passed through waivers unclaimed by the other 29 teams.
At that point the Twins could have simply assigned Worley to Triple-A, but instead they decided to cut bait completely and sold him to the Pirates for a little cash. It was a total give-away move and there was no real reason for it other than the Twins wanting to wash their hands of the entire situation.
Last night Worley tossed a complete-game shutout against the Giants, improving to 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 50 innings for the Pirates. At age 26 he once again looks capable of being a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter thanks to Pittsburgh getting him healthy, giving him some coaching on his mechanics, showing a little patience, and basically doing what Minnesota wouldn’t or couldn’t. And that’s become a familiar story for Twins fans.
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.