Jonny Gomes scores

Jonny Gomes speaks out against A-Rod

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Jonny Gomes met the media before last night’s Boston Baseball Writer’s dinner and he had some choice words for Alex Rodriguez, reports the Boston Herald:

“He does steroids or whatever, it sucks. He does this or that, it sucks. He’s always in the news, it sucks,” the Red Sox left fielder told the Herald yesterday before the 75th annual Boston Baseball Writers’ dinner. “But this is the players’ union he’s going against. It’s all of us. Not a real good idea . . . I don’t think it’s really a good idea to go after our union. Down to my (expletive) kids, down to the benefits we have, down to our retirement fund, the union makes our lives better. We pay dues to the union for our rights.”

This is not the first time Gomes has voiced his opinion on A-Rod. Back in August when Rodriguez returned from the disabled list and played while appealing his then-211-game suspension, Gomes spoke out against PED users in general and, with specific reference to Rodriguez, said “I hope our dues aren’t being used for his lawyers’ fees.”

Gomes is certainly entitled to his opinion and his opinion on Rodriguez is in the clear majority based on everything we’ve heard about player sentiments on the matter. At the same time, when union members, like Gomes, are on record saying that he’d prefer that the union not defend A-Rod, and when his opinions on A-Rod are later shown to be quite in step with other members and union leadership — really, what Gomes is saying here echoes exactly what union leadership told the players just the other day — it’s not hard to understand how someone like A-Rod can come away believing that maybe, just maybe, the union didn’t have his back. Which is the central claim in the portion of the lawsuit which relates to the MLBPA.

Shohei Otani may come to the United States after 2017

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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.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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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.