Last week there were reports that a deal between the Cubs and the city of Chicago which would allow for the renovation of Wrigley Field to go forward would be announced for today’s home opener. Well, we’ve had a couple of innings of ineffective Edwin Jackson already today, and no announcement. But Tom Ricketts says they’re getting there:
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts says talks with the city over a renovation plan for Wrigley Field are “going in the right direction” and the team is looking forward to the public part of the process.
Ricketts talked before the Cubs hosted the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday in the first game of the season at their 99-year-old neighborhood ballpark. The team and the city appear to be close to announcing a $500 million project.
I thought “the public part of the process” was the part in which the team has been negotiating with city hall and the rooftop owners across the street for the past month or two. Now there’s another part? Jeez.
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.