Notable MLB free agents are signing in Japan and South Korea during lockout; will bigger names follow?

Notable MLB free agents are signing in Japan and South Korea during lockout; will bigger names follow?

Back in 1987, with Major League Baseball’s owners colluding against the players to suppress salaries, Bob Horner took matters into his own hands. Horner, a former All-Star and Rookie of the Year Award recipient, had homered 54 times and posted a 121 OPS+ for the Atlanta Braves in the 1985 and 1986 seasons, making it all the more jarring when he agreed to a one-year contract with the Yakult Swallows. The Swallows, part of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, were willing to do what no MLB club would deign itself to do: pay Horner what he believed he was worth, or nearly $2 million. 

“The Japanese called and made a good offer,” he said, according to a Los Angeles Times article. “I was at the point of thinking I was going to sit out the whole year.”

Horner didn’t enjoy his time in Japan. He later turned down a multi-year offer from the Swallows to return to the majors, where he suffered a career-ending shoulder injury a year later. Still, fans of a certain age might have thought about Horner once or twice already this offseason. With MLB’s franchise owners locking out the players on Dec. 2, the hot stove has been snuffed out. (“Any contact with major league players or agents on any topic is prohibited,” is the league’s instruction to front-office personnel.) The only transaction news to devour in the time since has been the steady drumbeat of MLB players pushing off America’s shores for more certainty in Japan’s NPB or the Korean Baseball Organization, the world’s No. 2 and 3 leagues.

The holiday weekend alone saw third baseman Rio Ruiz, a veteran of parts of six big-league seasons, and Chris Gittens, who appeared in 16 games with the New York Yankees, sign with Asian league teams.

Read More

EXPLAINER: What is this new COVID variant in South Africa?

EXPLAINER: What is this new COVID variant in South Africa?

LONDON (AP) — WHAT IS THIS NEW COVID-19 VARIANT?

South African scientists identified a new variation of the coronavirus this 7 days that they say is guiding a latest spike in COVID-19 bacterial infections in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. It’s unclear exactly where the new variant initial emerged, but experts in South Africa initial alerted the Environment Wellbeing Corporation and it has now been noticed in tourists to Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.

Health and fitness Minister Joe Phaahla mentioned the variant was joined to an “exponential rise” of conditions in the very last couple days, whilst authorities are still striving to establish if the new variant is basically accountable.

From just over 200 new verified instances for every day in recent weeks, South Africa observed the range of new day-to-day instances rocket to 2,465 on Thursday. Having difficulties to describe the unexpected increase in scenarios, scientists analyzed virus samples from the outbreak and discovered the new variant.

In a statement on Friday, the WHO selected it as a “variant of problem,” naming it “omicron” just after a letter in the Greek alphabet.

Just after convening a team of gurus to evaluate the knowledge, the U.N. health agency reported that “preliminary proof suggests an amplified possibility of reinfection with this variant,” as when compared to other variants.

“The variety of conditions of this variant seems to be expanding in nearly all provinces in South Africa,” the WHO claimed.

WHY ARE Researchers Anxious ABOUT THIS NEW VARIANT?

It seems to have a higher number of mutations — about 30 — in the coronavirus’ spike protein, which could affect how quickly it spreads to persons.

Sharon Peacock, who has led genetic sequencing of COVID-19 in Britain at the University of Cambridge, mentioned the details so considerably recommend the new

Read More