The Marlins have been mentioned as a possible landing spot for free agent Juan Uribe in recent days, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald hears that the club continues to look at other options to play third base:
Seeking a third baseman, the Marlins are intrigued by free agent Casey McGehee, 31, who played in Japan this year and led his team to a championship by hitting .298 with 28 homers and 93 RBI.
He hit .217 with nine homers and 41 RBI for the Pirates and Yankees in 2012 but drove in 104 runs in 2010 and 67 in 2011. Wilson Betemit (.261, 12 homers in 2012, injured in 2013) also has been discussed as an option.
The Marlins want a third baseman with versatility, and McGehee and Betemit can play multiple positions.
While McGehee has enjoyed success since his move overseas, his agent told Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca back in October
that his client would consider a return to MLB if the right opportunity came along. As for Betemit, a knee injury limited him to just six games with the Orioles this past season before he was designated for assignment in September, but he owns an .819 career OPS against right-handed pitchers. His defense could be an issue, though. Both players would be low-cost alternatives to Uribe, who is coming off arguably the best season of his 13-year major league career.
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.