UPDATE: Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the deal is for two years and $15.5 million. That seems like a bargain in this market. Dan Haren — who also has some health questions — got almost that much for one year. But it does conform with Kevin Towers’ self-imposed rule on pitcher contracts.
5:27 PM: John Gambadoro of 620 KTAR in Phoenix is reporting that the Diamondbacks have agreed to a deal with starter Brandon McCarthy. The financial terms of the deal are not yet known. At one point this winter it was reported that Kevin Towers was unwilling to offer more than two years for a starting pitcher, but then again, people say a lot of things.
Interesting choice for both McCarthy and the Diamondbacks. For McCarthy, he goes from a pitchers park with a stellar defensive outfield to a hitters park where Jason Kubel calls home. For the Diamonbacks, you have to wonder if this doesn’t signal the end of those Mega Trade rumors, seeing as those have all involved, to some degree or another, a pitcher going to Arizona. But now you gotta wonder if they may use some starting pitching depth to flip for that shortstop they’ve been wanting.
McCarthy posted a 3.24 ERA and 73/24 K/BB ratio over 111 innings with the A’s this past 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.