Philadelphia’s decision to offer Raul Ibanez arbitration yesterday made zero sense unless the two sides had a pre-arranged agreement that the 39-year-old outfielder would decline.
Sure enough, Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports exactly that, as Ibanez did the Phillies a favor and agreed ahead of time to decline an arbitration offer to basically just give them an extra draft pick.
Olney calls it “a wink/nod situation” and Ibanez isn’t the first player to do it. As a Type B free agent his status is unchanged by the arbitration offer, as any team signing him can still do so without forfeiting a draft pick. The only difference now is that the Phillies will get an extra supplemental round pick if/when he signs elsewhere.
The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.
A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.
Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.
The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.
Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.