New York Yankees catcher Cervelli smiles as he steps out of the batting cage at the team's spring training camp in Tampa

Not all players named in the Biogenesis records should be treated the same

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Dayn Perry of CBS Sports.com makes an excellent freaking observation: despite having all of the Biogenesis records at its disposal, the Miami New Times limited its reporting of players’ names to those clearly associated with PEDs in the records. They redacted and did not report the names of Ryan Braun, Jhonny Peralta and those players named in the past few days by other outlets. They explain their reasoning here.

I agree with Dayn that this does not mean that those who have reported other names have acted irresponsibly. Indeed, every report (as opposed to secondary, hand-wringing opinion) has been careful to note that names like Braun’s appear in the records — a clear fact — but are not linked to specific PEDs.  At the same time, however, the mere fact that those names are there has cultivated suspicion and accusations regarding them that no matter what ever else arises out of all of this will forever associate them with a PED story.

Was the Miami New Times overly cautious? Maybe. But given how badly PED accusations stain players’ reputations, the caution seems well-warranted. And even if those names are going to inevitably come out, the distinction between those who are specifically linked to PEDs in the documents and those who are not is one that should be noted as often as possible.

Shohei Otani may come to the United States after 2017

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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.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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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.