When Jackie Bradley, Jr. started to draw a lot of notice, he was lauded to great degree for his attitude and work ethic. Indeed, some scribes got rather prickly if anyone dared to criticize Bradley or suggest that, maybe, he wasn’t ready to play every day in Boston.
This year his offensive performance was a big problem for the Sox, and he was eventually sent down to Pawtucket. But Joon Lee of Over the Monster reports that it may have been more than his lack of hitting that earned him a stint in the minors:
According to two league sources, there was a growing sense of frustration within the Red Sox clubhouse — both coaches and players — with Bradley due to his perceived “stubbornness with the coaching staff.” One source added that Bradley was unwilling to work with coaches to fix his swing. Both sources said Bradley’s attitude was one of the main reasons he was sent to the minors.
Did Bradley become frustrated as a result of his struggles? Or is it possible that the enthusiasm some had for him last year was premature?
Hard to say from the outside, of course. But one thing is certain: with Mookie Betts emerging and Rusney Castillo now in the organization, it could be a crowded center field situation in Boston and Bradley can’t afford to have anything else working against him at the moment.
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.