San Francisco signing Miguel Tejada to a one-year, $6.5 million deal and handing him the starting shortstop job at age 37 was a bad idea at the time, as they focused on his veteran-ness rather than his declining offense and lack of range.
By the middle of spring training the beat reporters covering the team were talking openly about how unimpressive Tejada looked, by late April the Giants had switched him from shortstop to third base, and now Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that they may be ready to simply release the former MVP.
Pablo Sandoval is close to coming off the disabled list, creating an infield logjam and forcing a roster move, and Baggarly writes that “there doesn’t appear to be much use for Tejada” with rookie Brandon Crawford playing well.
Tejada ranks dead last among NL hitters with a .515 OPS and his defense, even at third base, has been ugly. Asked about his job security, Tejada replied: “There’s four months left. I’m not going to let these first two months get in my head.”
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.