Manny Ramirez mugshot

Police report: Manny Ramirez slapped his wife, causing her to hit her head and fear for her safety

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According to the arrest report arising from Manny Ramirez’s arrest for domestic violence last night, Ramirez and his wife were arguing. Ramirez slapped her face, causing her to hit her head on their bed’s headboard. Ramirez’s wife was afraid that the violence would escalate so she called police. She declined medical treatment but did have marks consistent with her story, the report said.

The incident itself is a subject for law enforcement now.  The subject of Manny Ramirez, however, is no longer appropriately the subject of jokes and apologies.

I don’t think even the harshest Manny Ramirez critics ever considered him to be a truly bad guy. His transgressions were usually seen as those of an absent-minded man. A flake. Someone with motivation problems. The PED stuff was troubling, but so many ballplayers did it that it spoke more to his baseball character than some inherent personal flaw apart from said laziness.  Those of us who truly believed in the concept of Manny being Manny thought of him as a mostly benign eccentric.

That narrative wasn’t perfect. For one thing, it didn’t really account for that time he shoved the Red Sox traveling secretary Jack McCormick to the ground during an argument over tickets.  The Manny being Manny narrative absorbed that, however, because it was quickly followed by a trade and a new set of seemingly harmless Manny behavior — and good play — once he got to Los Angeles.

But that narrative of the kooky flake doesn’t really hold water anymore. Maybe it shouldn’t have before. Either way, this is obviously very serious and very sad business.

Shohei Otani may come to the United States after 2017

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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.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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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.