UPDATE: The details on the Wang-Nats deal: $2 million in base salary, with up to $3 million in performance-based bonuses.
12:02 P.M.: Now that the shirt’s out of the bag, the Nats have no reason to pretend they haven’t signed Wang. Bill Ladson tweets that the Nats have agreed to terms with Wang and have scheduled a press conference for Friday. Terms aren’t known just yet.
Kudos to the Globe’s Pete Abraham who had this first and stuck with it despite multiple, implausible denials by the agent and the team.
10:59 A.M.: Chien-Ming Wang’s agent has gotten all snippy that people have reported that his client and the Nats already have a deal. He insists that Wang hasn’t yet made up his mind. But if that’s the case, why are the Nationals selling jerseys with his name on it already?
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if a fan can wear Wang’s name on a Nationals jersey this year, Wang will be wearing a Nationals jersey this year as well.
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.