This time of year there are lots of stories about teams trying to sign free agents-to-be before they hit the open market following the season, but in the Brewers’ case they plan to let Shaun Marcum’s contract expire.
Marcum has one year and $7.725 million left on his deal and general manager Doug Melvin told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that “we’ll probably let him play the year out.”
According to McCalvy “the Brewers have made no move to engage Marcum in discussions about an extension and that appears unlikely to change.”
Marcum is 30 years old, faded badly down the stretch last season amid concerns about arm problems, and missed time early in camp with a sore shoulder, so it’s tough to blame the Brewers for being hesitant about making a long-term commitment.
For his part, Marcum said that he’d “like to stay” and “won’t close the door, but if they close the door on their end, then it’s closed … there’s not a lot we can do about it.” Not a lot except get healthy, have a strong season, and cash in big as a free agent 30-something starts from now.
Brett Lawrie, whom the Brewers traded for Marcum, is under the Blue Jays’ control through 2017.
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.