Acta not fired. Yet.

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Nationals’ manager Manny Acta is rumored to be out the door, but no one has told him that yet:

After
today’s game, the elephant remained in the room. Manny Acta has in fact
boarded the team plane, heading to New York for the upcoming series
against the Yankees. But that begins Tuesday. We’ll see what happens
tomorrow.

Not quite the same thing as Omar Minaya allowing
Willie Randolph to get on a plane and fly all the way out to California
before being fired last year, but if the reports of his impending
demise are true, I can’t imagine why the Nats didn’t simply fire Acta
after yesterday’s game. Or, better yet, before yesterday’s game.
There’s no percentage in letting a guy twist in the wind like this. And
he is twisting. Team president Stan Kasten had the chance to dispel this rumor over the weekend and didn’t. When you see that, you can pretty much bank on the fact that the axe is ready to swing.

While
Kasten himself has a good reputation, there is a strong sense inside
the game that the Nationals’ owners are clueless when it comes to
baseball operations. But don’t let me passing along rumors convince
you: the Nats’ baseball operations over the past few years are evidence
enough that they have no idea what they’re doing. Letting a manager
dangle like this — which sends a negative message to anyone else who
may one day want to manager this club themselves — is yet another
example of the Nats simply getting it wrong.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.