Link-O-Rama: More problems for Matt Bush

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* When last we checked in with Matt Bush the former No. 1 overall pick was pleading guilty to assault charges on draft day, which seemed fitting for one of the biggest busts in draft history. In the month since then Bush has been arrested again, this time being charged with a DUI, resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license, and vandalism.

The beauty of the situation is that last month Bush’s lawyer said:
“He fully intends to get his act together and do whatever is required
of him by the court. They could tell him to attend alcohol rehab on the
moon, and he’d agree to it.” Apparently that rehab center on the moon
was all booked up or something.

* Minnesota was blown out
by New York last night, leaving manager Ron Gardenhire with a 14-38
(.269) career record against the Yankees compared to 651-515 (.558)
versus everyone else. Oh, and he’s also 2-6 against New York in the
playoffs.

* Last week I wrote about
how baffling it was that “Matt Kemp has been one of the league’s best
players, yet has batted higher than sixth in the Dodgers’ lineup just
10 times.” This week R.J. Anderson of Fans Graphs has taken up the same cause, but with even more stats.

* Vladimir Guerrero played the outfield last night for just the second time this season and lasted all of eight innings before leaving with a knee injury.

* Alan Embree picked up a victory last night without actually throwing a pitch.

Shohei Otani may come to the United States after 2017

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Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?

Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.

It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.

Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.