That’s what Joel Sherman is floating in this column. The overall thinking is fairly sound: the Yankees will overpay what he’s really worth to some degree because it would be embarrassing for everyone involved if some other team made a competitive offer, but they’re not going to do what a lot of us figured they might do a few months ago and try to make this into an A-Rod-Lite kind of contract. That thinking, of course, was based on the notion that Jeter’s 2010 would look a lot like his 2009: highly effective and age-defying. And that certainly didn’t happen.
I think the $45 million line is a safe one, by far. I can’t think of a single team not named the New York Yankees who would believe that Jeter brings anything close to that kind of value to the table, even if the deal specifies that Mystique and Aura get their own hotel suites on road trips. This isn’t the “oh noes, the Yankees have to keep Jeter!” world we thought we’d be living in a few months ago. Now it’s simply a matter of him being more valuable to the Yankees than anyone else, and the need for everyone to resolve the situation with dignity intact. That shouldn’t be too hard, and I’d be shocked if a deal wasn’t done by December 1st.
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.