The Yankees certainly have their backs up against the wall. A 14.6 % chance of winning the series if you believe Rational Pastime. And to do that they have to channel their inner-2004 Boston Red Sox, and that may be simply unpalatable for them. Tough break, ya know?
But hey, maybe their chances are a tad better if they can just steal one this afternoon. Why? Because that sends it back to Texas, and if that happens, recent history — which probably means little, but which is all the hope a Yankees fan can ask for right now — favors them. Check out the home records in the AL playoffs so far:
CC Sabathia + the vagaries of small sample size fate are on their side!
(thanks to reader Johnny T. for the heads up on the home records)
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.