We’ve heard people piling on Marlon Byrd for his positive PED test as if he owed them something and, frankly, it’s pretty unseemly. Contrast this with an excellent column from Doug Glanville today which outlines true disappointment.
In it Glanville explains how veterans mentor young players and how young players grow up and do the same to the next group of kids. Glanville was Byrd’s mentor when the latter came and eventually took over his job with the Phillies, and he describes how that all works and the sort of relationship that is formed if everyone has their head on straight.
Byrd, by almost all accounts, had his head on straight his whole career, which is why Glanville is saddened to hear the news about the PED test. It’s not a judgmental thing like you get from the sanctimonious jerks in the media. It’s the sort of valid and honest disappointment one can only have for someone about whom they care deeply as Glanville clearly does for Byrd. And based on the tone, it’s a disappointment, one suspects, that will one day go away because good people eventually make amends when necessary.
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.