It’s Dan LeBatard. And he explains his rationale over at the website today. It’s a pretty good rationale. And, the headline here and picture to the right notwithstanding, LeBatard received no payment for it. He gave it up willingly and freely.
And the ballot that the Deadspin readers submitted — Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martínez, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Curt Schilling — is pretty darn good too.
Of course, the BBWAA is not likely to agree that this exercise in consciousness raising was all well and good. They approve of stupid protests of their own members, but not smart protests by their own members with the help of common people like baseball fans. Clearly you see the difference.
Anyway, I just saw the first volley fired at LeBatard. Of course it is passive-aggressive, in that it’s not directed at LeBatard himself even though he’s on Twitter. It also has the added fun of a total lack of self-awareness:
Jon, hate to break it to you, but you work for a website too. I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you.
Oh well, go get him, BBWAA. You know you’ve been wanting to.
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.