Most people think that Kevin Towers is a goner after the season, what with the lack of success of the Dbacks, several player moves which have not worked out too well and the fact that ownership brought in Tony La Russa and created a job for him that is above Towers in the pecking order.
But if Towers is feeling the heat, he’s not showing it. Steve Gilbert of MLB.com has a Q&A up with Towers about all things Dbacks today, and one of his questions is about the La Russa situation:
MLB.com: Tony La Russa has said recently that there are a lot of good things going on in the organization, and it seems like you two have developed a good rapport so far.
Towers: He’s been great. It’s nice to have a guy that’s been as successful in uniform around. Our dialogue has been good. I mean he’s a baseball guy, he’s easy to talk to. It’s nice to be able to pick his brain. I always wanted to pick his brain when he was in the other dugout with the Cardinals. Now when you have him on the same team, it’s very valuable — not just to me but the entire organization to have someone with his knowledge and success here.
He notes at the end that, yes, his situation is sort of up in the air. But I guess if he is canned, at least he’s had a few good months of baseball talk with a Hall of Famer.
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.