I don’t think the government has a role in making the Indians drop Chief Wahoo or change their name. The team is a private business and it can do what it wants to. But I have no problem with it passing non-binding resolutions as a means of attempting to move public support. That’s what one Ohio senator has done in the state legislature:
Eric Kearney, a Democrat from Cincinnati, introduced a resolution Wednesday that would encourage the baseball team to adopt a new name and mascot, citing racial insensitivity. He also sent a letter to Indians owner Lawrence Dolan urging a change.
The legislature is on summer break, actually, so no one is gonna do anything with this. And it seems that the Indians are in no mood to do anything with Wahoo. Team president Mark Shapiro — not responding to this resolution, but speaking in an unrelated press conference yesterday — said this:
“[Chief Wahoo] represents the heritage of the team and the ballpark” and will remain in place. He added that the team will continue to build and promote the use of the block “C.”
I guess you can try to have it both ways — minimizing Wahoo’s presence officially, promoting the block C but still selling merch with Wahoo on it and not alienating fans — as long as you want. But at some point it’s even worse to take this tack, isn’t it? To essentially lie about the racist mascot as officially representing the team when it does so less and less but being happy to cynically use it for marking purposes among fans who would chafe at its removal.
Maybe someday the Indians should take a stand and either give the thing the organization’s full-throated endorsement or else get rid of it altogether?
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.