Angels left-hander Sean Burnett began the season on the disabled list while continuing to recover from August elbow surgery and now his attempt to resume a throwing program has been shut down due to more soreness.
Burnett signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Angels as a free agent two offseasons ago, but was limited to just 13 appearances last year before going under the knife.
In talking to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com about Burnett’s status manager Mike Scioscia did not seem very optimistic:
He’s trying to get over the hump of some residual soreness that pops up here and there. I don’t think you’re at a point of writing anybody off, but there’s certainly a question right know of when he’s going to be back. You can’t count on him until he gets to be 100 percent, and he’s not there yet.
Burnett was one of the best left-handed relievers in the National League before signing with the Angels, throwing 202 innings with a 2.81 ERA in three-and-a-half seasons for the Nationals, but he did have some arm problems even during that strong run.
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.