From John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle comes word that the Giants are “closing in on signing” Japanese second baseman Kensuke Tanaka to a minor league contract. The deal is expected to include an invitation to spring training, where Tanaka will be in the running for a utility job.
The 31-year-old batted .300/.350/.363 with three home runs, 14 doubles, three triples and 32 RBI in 505 plate appearances last season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of Japan’s Pacific League.
Tanaka also stole 13 bases in 22 attempts.
UPDATE, 10:45 PM: Shea reports that the minor league contract has now been made official.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.
It’s not known yet what kind of contract the two sides are negotiating. It could be a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, a non-guaranteed major league contract, or a guaranteed major league contract.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.