In an effort to shake a season-long slump that includes a .173 batting average and 100 strikeouts in 67 games Adam Dunn recently spent some time with a psychologist named Jeffrey Fishbein.
Here’s what Dunn told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago about the experience:
I talked to him a little bit. It works for different people. I don’t know if it works for me, but you know, I have talked with him and I even golfed with him. I like him. I’m not giving up, I promise you. I just need to go back to basics and quit thinking. It’s not me. I’m not a thinker. Have to quit thinking. That’s not me. I’m not a thinker. I have to see it, hit the damn thing and not make it so complicated.
“I’m not a thinker” is definitely one of my favorite out-of-context quotes of the season, but Dunn is probably right. He’s been so productive for so many seasons–topping an .800 OPS in every year of his career prior to signing with the White Sox–that I’d bet on his eventually getting on track. Whether or not that means he can be worth anything close to $56 million to the White Sox over the next four years is another issue, of course.
Asked if Fishbein is a good psychologist, Dunn replied: “I don’t know what’s a good one. Yeah, sure. I don’t know, it’s my first run-in with one.”
Fishbein probably won’t be putting that quote on any promotion materials any time soon.
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.