After last night’s blowout loss to the Phillies manager Terry Collins was asked by reporters whether the Mets had quit and replied: “You have to ask them.”
That was seemingly a pretty clear implication that he felt they had indeed quit, but today Collins told the same reporters he regretted his comment and doesn’t think they quit:
We know we’re going through a tough time. I’m very proud of this team, the way they played all year. The one thing I will never, ever talk about is their effort. Their effort has always been there. … That’s not the issue. The issue has been, as a manager you sit here and you try to fix it. You try to figure out how to fix it. And you pull out all your stops. No matter what you’ve done in the past, you try to find an answer to it. When you don’t have the answers anymore, it’s frustrating.
In a situation like this it’s always tough to tell how much of that is Collins defending his players and how much of that is Collins defending himself, because if a manager admits his team is no longer giving him a maximum effort … well, that’s usually the beginning of the end for the manager.
In other words, you can’t say “the players aren’t playing hard” without the next question being “well, isn’t it your job to make sure they are playing hard?”
Whatever the case, the Mets are 20-43 in the second half.
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.