John Smoltz was forced into the broadcast booth, but everyone’s favorite Knight of the Netherlands/problem drinker/starting pitcher, Sidney Ponson, has landed a job. He has signed a deal with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. OK, I suppose they would have taken Smoltz over Ponson if the former would have made himself available, but the point is that Ponson will be throwing live pitches this spring and Smoltz won’t be, and there’s something wrong with that on a cosmic level.
Is this the beginning of Sidney Ponson’s epic comeback? Fans of all 30 teams certainly hope not.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.