I’ll admit that I didn’t stay up to watch this one, but the Padres and Blue Jays played into the wee small hours of the morning in San Diego. It wasn’t until the bottom of the 17th inning that there was there a winner, as Jesus Guzman singled home Jedd Gyorko to give the Padres a 4-3 win. You can watch video of the walk-off hit here.
It was a long wait for offense in PETCO Park, as the game was tied at 3-3 after the fifth inning. Both teams used eight pitchers and there was a total of 493 pitches thrown. The Padres were forced to use Saturday’s scheduled starter Clayton Richard for the final two innings, so they are now calling up Robbie Erlin to pitch in his place later tonight.
The game took four hours and 58 minutes to complete and ended at 3:11 a.m. ET. It was the longest game for the Padres since 2009 and the longest for the Blue Jays since 2005.
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.