UPDATE: Done deal. The Yankees have reached an agreement with CBS Radio to broadcast their games on WFAN beginning in 2014. This knocks the Mets off that station, where they’ve been broadcast for over 25 years. Details aren’t known, but it’s expected to be north of $15 million a year. Their current radio deal reportedly pays them $13-14 million.
Tuesday, 11:35 AM: This is for the New Yorkers. The rest of us will continue to ignore Yankees radio broadcasts pretty much all of the time:
The Yankees and CBS Radio are close to a deal that would put the Yankees on WFAN starting in 2014, a person familiar with the negotiations told Newsday. The arrangement would bump the Mets off the station that has carried their games since WFAN’s inception in 1987.
The Yankees currently are carried by WCBS Radio. The Mets could go any number of other places as there are no shortage of radio stations in New York.
The report says that John Sterling is likely to stay as the radio voice of the Yankees. Which more or less explains the second sentence of my opening comments.
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.