Alexi Casilla got a Rolex

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Casilla.jpgAs John Shipley at the Pioneer Press notes, it’s been a bad few months for Alexi Casilla.  I believe that the technical term for his performance at the plate in 2009 is “butt.”  Then the Twins signed Jim Thome, who took his uniform number. Then they signed Orlando Hudson who took his job. But at least he was compensated for the number thing:

First Orlando Hudson took his job, then Jim Thome took his number. At least Thome gave him a Rolex. “A very nice watch,” Alexi Casilla assures us . . .

. . . When Thome, a likely hall of famer with 564 career
home runs, was acquired this winter, Casilla surrendered his No. 25 to
the former Twins nemesis — happily, he said. Now Casilla wears No. 12,
the number he wore as he helped lead his team to the Dominican finals
this winter.

Given where Casila is these days — it’s not inconceivable that he’ll be cut loose by the Twins — you wonder if Thome should have saved his money and just waited things out.

Still, I love the whole shadow economy of uniform numbers.  A couple of years ago Morgan Ensberg was turned down when he offered Wilson Betemit $5,000 for number 14 on the Yankees.  Giants’ punter Jeff Feagles was the Warren Buffett of this biz, once demanding — and receiving — an outdoor kitchen in his vacation home in Phoenix in exchange for giving up his number 17 to Plaxico Burress. Before that he got a family vacation to Florida from Eli Manning for giving up number 10.

If I was on the Red Sox I’d jump on number 23 now in anticipation of that big Adrian Gonzalez windfall.  Joey Gathright and Adam LaRoche shared it last year, so I think it’s available.

Nathan Eovaldi to make 2018 debut for Rays soon

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Rays manager Kevin Cash said that pitcher Nathan Eovaldi will join the starting rotation on Monday or Tuesday to face the Athletics, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Eovaldi’s rehab outing with Triple-A Durham went well, even though he gave up eight runs in four innings.

Eovaldi, 28, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had arthroscopic surgery in March to remove loose bodies in his elbow. It’s been a long road back. Knowing Eovaldi needed to recover from surgery, the Rays signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract in 2017 that included a $2 million club option for 2018 that they exercised last November.

When Eovaldi last pitched, he ranked among baseball’s hardest throwers, particularly among starters. He averaged 97.1 MPH on his fastball in 2016. Among starters who racked up at least 100 innings that season, only the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard had a higher average velocity (97.9 MPH). It remains to be seen if he still has that velocity after undergoing two procedures on his elbow.

The Rays will be glad to have Eovaldi back. The club has sustained injuries to Jake Faria, Yonny Chirinos, and Jose De Leon.