An update on the redesign

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OK, the changeover to the redesign did not go 100% according to plan.  But I assure you, we’re now only leaking, like, 5,000 barrels a day and we’ve sprayed chemical dispersants all around the affected area. We’ll be sunning ourselves on Mississippi beaches in no time.

Once again, apologies for the glitches earlier today.  As I mentioned on Twitter and in the comments, HBT is NOT becoming a registration site. That was a technical issue that, for reasons that aren’t terribly important to go over, wasn’t apparent until we actually went live.  It should be fixed now, but by all means, drop us a line (note the fancy “tips/feedback” button in the upper right) if you see any other problems.  Other matters:

While we will not be going to registration for reading the site we are going to keep with registration for comments.  This is something we should have hipped you to earlier, I confess, and I apologize for not doing so.  It’s something we do with great reluctance, but we’ve had enough issues with spam, impersonators and the like to where it’s really our only option.  Frankly, I can’t think of many blogs that don’t have comment registration these days, so such a move was probably inevitable. I think we’ll survive.

The comments will soon be back to oldest first, newest last.  The reverse chronological order thing was a function of solar winds, swamp gas and stuff like that.

The “search” field will return to the upper right soon as well.  To be honest, I have no idea how many of you actually use that, but it’s a pretty good site-searcher as far as those things go. I use it all the time so that I may more easily plagiarize myself.

People still continue to hate the click-throughs even lo these many hours later.  I understand it. I hope you understand why we’re doing it (if not, click here and read my explanation).  One thing I might ask of you to help make it a little more bearable is to give me your opinion:  do you prefer it if we tease the story a bit in the little field on the front page, or would you prefer the first few sentences of the post to appear like I did on this one?

I confess, I kind of like the tease because it gives me yet another opportunity to be snarky throughout the day, but I can see how that might be annoying too.  I think that, regardless of what you say, I’ll probably tease longish posts like And That Happened, but I do want to know what you think. And yes, I understand that you’d like no click-throughs to begin with. I want my hair back too, but it’s just not really in the cards.

That’s all I got right now.  Please keep the criticism coming (hopefully of the constructive variety).  We want to continue to make HBT your number one baseball destination, so if we’re totally wigging out on you, please let us know.   

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.