I’m not going to say that the hot stove season moves a bit too fast for its own good these days, but it was probably only a matter of time before this happened:
It turns out that the power-hitting back-up catcher who everyone reported that the Blue Jays had signed earlier this month is still a free agent. The Jays never did sign him, despite getting involved in negotiations with him. I’m not sure how or why it fell through, or if it even got close enough to reach the point where one can even accurately say that it ‘fell through’, but it didn’t happen.
Jorge Arangue reported that Castro signed (or that his signing was imminent). MLB.com had it too. MLB Trade Rumors picked it up. We picked it up. So did a bunch of other people. As I mentioned last week, we’ve gotten to the point where most of us don’t wait around for the official announcement before running with stuff. I’m actually surprised other, low-wattage deals haven’t fallen through, only to escape the notice of the tweeting masses. It’s probably something all of us in the rumor-mongering business should pay a bit closer attention to going forward.
But you know what would be cool? If Castro just showed up at Jays camp like Willie Mays Hayes and acted like he was on the team anyway. Wouldn’t it be awkward if no one said anything until after he beat out John Buck?
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.