Yesterday we learned about the MLB investigation of the leaks of the Red Sox players placed on waivers. In the initial report, it was said that MLB does not suspect the Red Sox as being responsible for the leaks. Not everyone’s buying that. Like Rich Levine of CSNNE.com:
Ha! Looks like Lucky Larry pulled a fast one on the chaps over at the league office. Of course the Red Sox are responsible for these leaks.
Um, OK. The evidence Levine has, such as it is, is that the Red Sox have a long rich history of leaking stuff when it suits their needs. Which is absolutely true. I tend to disagree, however, about the incentives, which Levine says the Sox had. Specifically, the incentive to make it clear to fans that they were trying to remake the team.
There was far more risk, it seems, on their big trade to the Dodgers being upset if news of it got out and Dodgers fans and the L.A. media went nuts, realizing how bad a deal it was for them to take on so much salary. Why would the Sox want to queer that deal? Just to show fans they’re trying to do something? The trades themselves were evidence of that a mere couple of days later.
I agree with Levine that the Sox front office has never shown the ability to help itself when it comes to this sort of thing, but there was all kinds of downside to a leak here. And there were 29 other teams who had access to the same information, any one of whom could have done it.
I’d prefer to wait for MLB to investigate before jumping to any conclusions about this.
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.