Are the Rays really going to trade for Milton Bradley?

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There are no actual named sources tied to this article, so I have to assume it’s wishful thinking more than anything else, but the Chicago Sun-Times’ Chris De Luca is chattering about a potential Milton Bradley for Pat Burrell trade:

Sources say the Cubs have been pushing the Tampa Bay Rays for a quick deal . . . The Rays emerged as potential trade partners because they are looking to shed their own deal gone bad. After losing out on Bradley last winter, the Rays signed outfielder Pat Burrell to a two-year, $16 million contract.

De Luca hooks this all on the Rays being interested in Bradley last offseason. Of course, last offseason Bradley was coming off a high-production yet quiet off-the-field year in Texas.  Aside from the arguable matchup between the bad Burrell contract and the way worse Bradley contract, there’s no indication that the Rays are interested.

The Rays are run by some smart people, so I really can’t see them going for such a deal, even if the Cubs picked up the second year of Bradley’s deal, which they’d almost certainly have to in order to get past the laugh test.

But it’s fun to think about how the Cubs could rid themselves of Bradley.  I’m dubious of the Rays taking Bradleu on, but I think this theory — a challenge trade of one bad contract for another — is the only way it’s going to happen.

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.