In an effort to resurrect his career Micah Owings is returning to the team that drafted him, signing a minor-league contract with the Diamondbacks that includes an invitation to spring training.
Owings was Arizona’s third-round pick in 2005 and spent the first two seasons of his career with the Diamondbacks before being traded to the Reds in late 2008 as part of the Adam Dunn deal.
Owings once looked like a solid young pitcher who brought additional value to the table with his bat, but at this point his hitting might be ahead of his pitching. He has a 16-23 record and 5.59 ERA in 258 innings since a relatively promising rookie season in 2007, but has hit .274 with five homers and a .468 slugging percentage in 134 plate appearances during that same time.
This might be his last chance to make it as a pitcher who can also hit, but if the Diamondbacks get creative Owings could have more value as a pinch-hitter or part-time first baseman/outfielder who can also pitch, much like how the Brewers used Brooks Kieschnick in 2003 and 2004.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.