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HBT’s Trade Deadline Wrapup

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The non-waiver trade deadline hit at 4PM EDT today. It was pretty uneventful compared to years past, with lots of chatter but very few deals. Here’s what we had go down today before the non-waiver trade deadline:

Before today, we had the following in the two weeks leading up to the deadline:

Not the most active deadline in recent memory. There are reasons for this. The second wild card and greater overall parity in baseball puts more teams in the mindset of contenders, leading to a profound lack of teams selling off parts wholesale. The Cubs did it. The Astros. That’s pretty much it.

Also limiting trades: the lack of teams unloading players who are poised for free agency in cost-savings moves. Teams are locking up their talent earlier and earlier these days, meaning fewer cost-avoidance deals. Teams also have more money thanks to escalating TV contracts.  All of this makes for a much less liquid trading market than we’re used to seeing.

That doesn’t mean the deals are done, of course. Between now and the end of August teams can still complete trades of players who have cleared waivers. Trades of any kind which are completed before August 31 will allow the player in question to appear on a team’s postseason roster.

No matter how the trades come, however, keep a tab open with HBT at all times, as we’ll give you everything you need to know of the comings and goings of players along with our usual wall-to-wall baseball coverage.

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.