Rangers general manager Jon Daniels isn’t present for this weekend’s interleague series against the Mets. But for good reason.
According to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, Daniels was busy scouting right-hander Yu Darvish in Japan.
In fact, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com has the photo evidence of Daniels in attendance for his Friday start with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed one run over eight innings while striking out 13 and walking just one. He’s now 9-2 with a 1.37 ERA over 11 starts to go along with a fantastic 106/10 K/BB ratio over 92 innings.
There have been some reports that Darvish intends to come over to the United Status via the posting system following the 2011 season. Looks like we can expect the Rangers to be in the mix.
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.