We’ve heard the Dodgers connected to Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino in recent weeks, but it seems they are also considering another player on the Phillies’ roster.
Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com is reporting that the Dodgers have “some interest” in shortstop Jimmy Rollins. It’s not clear whether the Phillies are seriously considering parting with their longest-tenured player, but Knobler notes that the club has been “disappointed by his play this year” and thought he “could have done more” to guide them while Ryan Howard and Chase Utley were sidelined.
It’s probably a far-fetched possibility, but Rollins would represent an upgrade for the Dodgers, who have combined to hit just .227/.284/.302 from of the shortstop position this season. Dee Gordon is responsible for most of that and is expected to be sidelined until mid-August following surgery earlier this month to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb.
In the first year of a three-year, $33 million contract, Rollins is hitting .261/.315/.414 with eight home runs, 33 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a .729 OPS in 87 games. His contract includes an $11 million vesting option for 2015. Even if the Phillies find a taker, Rollins has 10-and-5 rights and can control his own destiny. The 33-year-old is a California native.
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.