The latest story is out in Lee County, Florida’s efforts to lure the Nationals to City of Palms Park, the former spring training home of the Red Sox. Except … they can’t quite figure out how to do it because the tax they’d normally use to do the renovations required for the park has been tapped out on other projects. Specifically, upgrades to the Twins’ complex and the construction of the Red Sox’ new JetBlue Park.
This passage from the article grinds my gears:
Other options for the ballpark include converting it into a swimming or soccer facility. The ideal scenario would be keeping it a baseball facility and convincing the Nationals, one of four teams still training on Florida’s east coast, to move there, officials said.
No one ever explains why that’s an ideal scenario. I’m not sure how public money to lure the Nationals is a better use than public money for public recreation facilities. No one ever really tries to explain that kind of thing in these situations.
(thanks to Justin E. for the heads up)
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.