CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Chase Headley was claimed off revocable waivers by an unidentified team and pulled back by the Padres. As a result, he is now assured of staying with San Diego for the rest of the season.
After a breakthrough season in 2012 in which Headley finished fifth in the National League MVP balloting, he is batting just .240/.331/.368 with eight home runs and 36 RBI in 117 games this season. Heyman writes that the Padres are expected to attempt to sign the 29-year-old to a contract extension this winter, but it’s possible they could field trade offers if no progress is made. It could be an interesting dynamic, as Headley might not be willing to sign after a down year while the Padres could be selling low in a trade.
Headley is due a raise in arbitration this winter after making $8.575 million this season. He is due to hit the free agent market after 2014.
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.