Gary Sheffield made an appearance here an hour or so ago. He says he was here because he serves as an advisor — not an agent, but an advisor — for a couple of young players. That makes sense. He was famous for not having his own agent and negotiating all of his deals himself, so I could see him representing other people.
Anyway, when asked in the hallway scrum if he was still wanting to play himself, Sheffield downplayed it. Later, however, he told Steve Kornacki of MLive that, yeah, he’d like to come back and he’d like to play for the Rays. Why? Because he wants to win. Oh, and because he lives in Tampa.
I think someone should have gone after Sheffield last year because he was coming off a nice 2009 with the Mets. One more year removed, however? Eh. Non-roster invite at best. Make him show he can hit in spring training. Nothing more.
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.