Heyman: Mariners turn down Tigers' Jackson proposal

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Edwin Jackson.jpgSI.com’s Jon Heyman tweets that the Tigers offered Edwin Jackson to the Mariners for right-handers Brandon Morrow and Shawn Kelley, yet were turned down.
It might well be the end of trade talks between the two teams, since it’s hard to imagine Detroit taking much less for their 26-year-old right-hander. Jackson faded in a big way towards the end of last year, but he was one of the AL’s best pitchers for five months and he has the stuff to back it up. He finished 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in his breakout season.
Morrow, the fifth overall pick in the 2006 draft, has spent much of the last three seasons in the majors, but he’s yet to settle into a role. He ended last year in the rotation and he turned in an encouraging September to finish with a 4.39 ERA in 69 2/3 innings. That did come with 44 walks, though. He’s 8-12 with a 3.96 ERA and a 204/128 K/BB ratio in 197 2/3 innings as a major leaguer. He’s made 15 starts and 116 relief appearances.
Kelley, 25, overcame long odds to win a bullpen spot last spring and he started off his career with a 1.54 ERA in 11 2/3 innings before going down with an oblique strain. He missed two months and was just an average reliever after returning, but he should be a useful setup man for the long haul.
Jackson is just two years away from free agency, which limits his trade value somewhat. He’s probably not worth four years of Morrow and five of Kelley. Morrow, though, will very likely will be a part of any deal that gets done. If the Tigers were willing to take lefty Jason Vargas or a prospect rather than Kelley, that might appeal to Seattle.

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.