An American League source tells Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets are trying to trade Oliver Perez. In fact, they even approached the Royals about swapping Perez for Gil Meche.
Meche hasn’t pitched since May 25 due to right shoulder bursitis while Perez hasn’t appeared in a game since May 31 due to patella tendinitis in his right knee. Aside from the fact that they are both on the disabled list, Perez and Meche each make exactly $12 million in 2010 and 2011. It’s a match made in bloated contract heaven.
Don’t get too excited, though, as Rubin writes that Omar Minaya’s efforts to trade the erratic left-hander have predictably went nowhere. Perez is currently three starts into a minor league rehab assignment and unless the Mets uncover another mysterious injury or decide to just cut him loose, he’ll be back with the team by the end of the month.
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.