Joe Mauer isn’t spending all of his time these days hammering out the details of a potentially historic new contract with the Minnesota Twins. Nope, this guy can multi-task, which is only one reason he’s so valuable.
In addition to shopping for a new, umm, everything, Mauer also took time on Tuesday to don one of those funny-looking skintight suits with the sensors all over it so his motions could be captured for the upcoming video game MLB 10 The Show.
Mauer, the cover boy for the game, which hits shelves on March 2, told the AP that wearing the suit was “uncomfortable at first, but as I started doing it more and more, it started feeling more comfortable.”
The suit he wore contained sensors at all of his flex points so cameras, shooting at 120 frames per second, could capture his motions. I’m assuming the motions captured were things like his swing, his crouch behind the plate, and perhaps his throwing motion. But if they’re smart, they also captured what Mauer looks like when signing a huge contract, counting his money, and lifting MVP awards.
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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.
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.