Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that the Nationals have granted Micah Owings his release after he opted out of his minor league contract with the club.
After posting a 4.86 ERA over six seasons between the Diamondbacks, Reds, and Padres, Owings made the switch from pitcher to full-time position player this season. The 30-year-old was batting .265/.305/.480 with eight home runs, 31 RBI and a 71/10 K/BB ratio over 213 plate appearances with the Nationals’ Triple-A affiliate. He made 30 starts in left field, two in right field and 21 out of the designated hitter spot.
Owings was already considered a good hitting pitcher and the pop he has displayed in the minors is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but that plate discipline isn’t pretty. While it sounds like he could have a lead on a promising situation elsewhere, one wonders if he would be more interesting to a major league club if he still pitched a little.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.