UPDATE: According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Jim Riggleman hasn’t been contacted by the Blue Jays. And that’s straight from Riggleman’s agent, Burton Rocks. However, he would have interest in the job.
10:51 AM: The Blue Jays have been busy with high-profile player acquisitions this week, but they still don’t have a manager. According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com, that could change very soon.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has tried to keep his search under wraps, but he reportedly wants a manager with previous experience. While Tracy and Riggleman are pretty underwhelming choices, this report by Olney indicates that Anthopoulos is leaning in that direction.
Tracy has an 856-880 record over 11 seasons as a manager in the majors between the Dodgers, Pirates and Rockies. He resigned as Colorado’s skipper in October. Riggleman has a 622-824 record over 12 seasons as a manager in the majors, making stops with the Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Nationals. He infamously quit the Nationals last June after the club declined to give him a multi-year contract. He managed the Reds’ Double-A affiliate this season.
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.