These two stories in the headline stack over at MLB.com today make me think that there was a memo sent around last week or something:
1. Family roots keep Hairstons grounded;
2. Family keeps Prince grounded:
The Hairston story is more interesting simply because I don’t know as much about the Hairstons as I do Prince Fielder. But the Fielder one is interesting too in light of stuff like this from Fielder’s wife Chanel regarding Prince’s contract status:
“I think the team is in such a different place now than it was a couple
of years ago, I don’t think it should be as scary. We obviously want to
stay. There have been days that Jadyn has come home from school after
hearing kids say that Prince is going to be traded and he says, ‘Dad, I
don’t want to go anywhere else!’ We’re comfortable, and I have met so
many wonderful people in Milwaukee.”
I hate to see stuff like that. Whenever I hear it I think the people are just saying it for PR purposes (though I’m not necessarily accusing Chanel Fielder of that here). I also anticipate that someone will bookmark it and, in the likely event that Fielder leaves the Brewers in free agency, will drag it out and say stuff like “what about your wife and kids, Prince?” and accuse him of being a mercenary or something.
I know the reporter has to ask those sorts of questions in a feature like this, and I know that Chanel Fielder is no shrinking violet, but baseball is a business not unlike sales or anything else, and sometimes business considerations mean you gotta move. Hate to see the wife and kids dragged into it.
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.