Steve Dilbek talked to Stan Kasten about the plan for renovating Dodger Stadium. In the short term — meaning this offseason — there are a lot of things that are going to get done: upgrades to the electrical system and water pipes. A sound system tweak. Addition of more gathering areas. That sort of thing.
But when asked about larger, more long-term plans, Kasten says that he and his partners haven’t thought about it yet:
“I know what we need in this ballpark for now, that I can do now in this off-season. Now if I also knew I was going to be here for the next 50 years like Wrigley and Fenway, then we’d also be doing probably other 50-year things,” he said. “I would be announcing a five-year building program. That may yet happen. I haven’t had my time to think about the second step … I know those are fair questions, and there will be time for me and us to think about that. We just haven’t had that time yet. My guess is we’ll be here, long term, permanent.”
And, as Dilbek notes, it is just a guess, as there are a lot of possibilities involving Chavez Ravine, AEG — which the Guggenheim Group which owns the Dodgers may buy — and AEG’s plans to build an NFL stadium. Which could be downtown. Or could be at Chavez Ravine. As could a ballpark for that matter.
My instincts as a fan would be to go with a Fenway-style renovation, keeping the beauty, view, and the most apparent and wonderful elements of Dodger Stadium intact, while modernizing the place. Ultimately, though, it’s gonna be about the money. Because it’s always about the money.
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.