Scott Feldman has been in and out of the Rangers’ rotation all season, but it looks like he’ll finish the year in the bullpen after a demotion there yesterday.
Ron Washington decided to make a change after Feldman coughed up six runs in just 2.2 innings against the Mariners on Saturday, so the Rangers will bump him to the bullpen while moving rookie Martin Perez into the rotation.
Perez made three starts for the Rangers earlier this season, allowing seven runs in 17 innings, and tossed 4.1 scoreless innings Saturday in relief of Feldman. He’s been considered one of the game’s top pitching prospects for the past 3-4 years, but Perez’s numbers in the minors this season weren’t particularly impressive and the Rangers are definitely taking a risk by relying on the 21-year-old.
On the other hand Feldman went 5-11 with a 5.52 ERA in 20 starts for a team that’s 87-59, so Perez won’t have to be great to represent a major upgrade.
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.