Scott Boras entered “boy who cried wolf” territory a long time ago when it comes to hyping clients and painting everything about them in the best possible light, but for whatever it’s worth he told Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that Magglio Ordonez is now fully healthy following ankle surgery.
Ordonez missed the final two months of the season with a fractured right ankle, which kept him from accumulating the plate appearances needed for his $15 million option to vest for 2011.
Instead the Tigers declined his option and now he’s a 37-year-old free agent looking for work in a market that includes other right-handed-hitting corner outfielders like Jayson Werth, Vladimir Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, Pat Burrell, and Jermaine Dye.
While his age and the ankle injury are major concerns, Ordonez hit .303 with 12 homers and an .859 OPS in 84 prior to fracturing his ankle and has posted an OPS above .800 in 11 of the past 12 years. According to Morosi the Tigers “haven’t ruled out the possibility that Ordonez will return for less money.” However, if he’s truly fully healthy there should be quite a few one-year offers on the table from teams that can’t get into the bidding war for Werth but prefer Ordonez to Guerrero or Ramirez.
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.