A few weeks ago there was a report that the Mets were shopping Jose Reyes. I could sorta see trading him making sense if the Mets were really intent on blowing it all up and starting over, but most people met that report with skepticism.
Probably deserved skepticism, as Andy Martino reports today that Reyes is more likely than not to begin the 2011 season in the orange white and blue (and occasionally black). But Martino says that the team is openly discussing it in a “never say never” kind of way. “It’s not blasphemy,” he says, even if a trade is unlikely.
Last March Buster Olney took a lot of crap for his report about the Cardinals having “internal discussion” about an Albert Pujols-for-Ryan Howard trade. That was a bit nuts, but I think the issue people had with that was one of tone and the way ESPN subsequently hyped it, not that it was inaccurate reporting. Teams have these kinds of conversations all the time. It should actually make fans feel better that their front office is considering all possibilities, even the unlikely ones.
If I was a Mets fan, I’d want my team to be receptive and prepared in the event they got an offer for Reyes rather than have them predetermined not to trade him. Same goes for Pujols or any other star.
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.