yu darvish in nippon uniform

We’re all waiting on Yu (Darvish)

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While the season is ripe for Japanese players to be posted, no one has heard yet whether Yu Darvish is becoming available. The Nippon Ham Fighters have yet to inform teams of his status.

Expectations are that the Fighters will let Darvish go if he makes the request. According to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, a source with close knowledge of Darvish’s thinking said Friday that it remains “more likely than not” that Darvish will pitch in the US in 2012. However, the source said there’s currently no timetable for a decision.

A Darvish acquisition would likely require a bigger commitment than what will be given to any free agent starter this winter. It’s unlikely the posting fee would top Boston’s $51,111,111 bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka, but it can’t be ruled out, and Darvish would likely want at least $10 million annually for his services.

Davish, a 25-year-old right-hander, went 18-7 with a career-best 1.44 ERA and a 276/36 K/BB ratio in 232 innings for Nippon Ham last season. It was the fifth consecutive season that he finished with an ERA under 2.00.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.