Larry Bowa gambled and lost

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I missed this when I was doing the recaps, but the ending of the Dodgers-Rockies game was pretty nifty. Well, if you were a Rockies fan or if you like to rag on third base coaches and stuff.

Bottom of the 10th, two down, Dodgers down by a run. Reed Johnson was on first base when Scott Podsednik’s hit one to center that dropped in front of Dexter Fowler, who was playing Podsednik somewhere just south of Modesto. Fowler picked it up however and, rather than getting all macho about it and trying to nail Podsednik at home himself, did the smart thing and relayed it to the guy with the better arm. Troy Tulowitski threw a bullet home and nailed Johnson by several feet, ballgame over.

Joe Torre defended Larry Bowa’s decision to send Johnson, saying that the Rockies had to make a perfect throw.  They did make a perfect throw, of course, but given how much room they had to spare in tagging Johnson out, they probably would have gotten him with a merely good one.

Hindsight, I suppose. I think it would be really hard to be a third base coach. My instinct would probably be to send guys more often than guys currently get sent, and they’d get nailed a lot, most likely.

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.