Mets first baseman Ike Davis may have played his last game in 2013. In the third inning, with the Mets leading 1-0, Davis skied a sacrifice fly to left field. He grabbed at his side, then left the field gingerly with trainer Ray Ramirez, writes ESPN’s Adam Rubin. Rubin later verified that the injury is a strained right oblique, an injury which likely keeps Davis out for the remainder of the season.
Davis has battled adversity all year long. Through June 9, he mustered a measly .500 OPS before the Mets demoted him to Triple-A Las Vegas. There, he posted a 1.091 OPS in 21 games, prompting the Mets to give him another shot. The power didn’t return to levels the Mets would have preferred, but his plate discipline was much improved. Between July 5 and August 30, he drew 38 walks (three intentional) and struck out 35 times in 168 plate appearances. Comparatively, from the beginning of the season through June 9, he drew 19 walks (two intentional) and struck out 66 times in 207 PA.
Rubin suggests the left-handed Lucas Duda and right-handed Josh Satin could share time at first base. Rubin also wonders if the Mets will tender Davis a contract in the off-season, as he will have earned $3.125 million this season and will enter his second year of arbitration eligibility.
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.