I feel like most of fandom was on Jose Fernandez’s side the other night after he admired his home run and ruffled the Braves’ feathers. No one particularly approved of the spitting-at-Chris-Johnson thing, but overall the sense I’ve gotten from people is that, hey, he’s young, he hit his first-ever homer and he can be forgiven for being a bit exuberant about it. More broadly, I think most fans roll their eyes at unwritten rules things and there’s nothing wrong with a kid having a bit of fun out there. He plays for the Marlins for cryin’ out loud, let him enjoy himself for five minutes, OK?
The Marlins, however, are on the Braves’ side with this one:
Even after emotions had settled Thursday, [Marlins manager Mike] Redmond sided with Atlanta.
“Jose is an emotional guy,” he said. “That’s part of his game that is going to improve. We don’t want to take the ‘having fun’ aspect away from him. That’s what makes him him. But at the same time, I think maybe he can center that a little bit. … That might be a part of his game he needs to look at, and maybe try to do something different.”
Bah. If I’m Redmond my only comment would be “well, if they want to put him in his place maybe they should figure out how to get a hit off of him once in a while.” But apparently we’re in a no fun aloud zone.
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.