Yankees will “try to fight” decision about postponed doubleheader

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As Drew mentioned, it was announced last night that Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader between the Yankees and Orioles was postponed due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Irene. One of the games will be made up in a split-doubleheader Sunday while the other will be made as a night game on September 8.

Of course, the Yankees tried earlier this week to schedule a doubleheader for Friday, but the Orioles refused. And Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com that they are still peeved about the situation.

“I don’t understand why we didn’t play a split doubleheader today,” an agitated Girardi said. “They changed things all over the country. They did it in Philadelphia, in Boston, in Florida, football’s been canceled. I mean, how long’s this forecast been out? Everyone knew it was going to rain like cats and dogs on Saturday. And now to take away our only off day? It makes zero sense. Someone’s got to step up.”

“We didn’t agree to play Sept. 8,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re going to fight it. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun lays out the scenario for the Baltimore side, writing among other things that the Orioles didn’t want to lose a home night gate against the Yankees. He also posits that the Orioles were coming off an 11-day, 10-game roadtrip and were still reeling as an organization following the death of Mike Flanagan.

I’m not really sure what the Yankees could accomplish by fighting this thing. It’s possible they could schedule a last-minute doubleheader for Monday or consider skipping the September 8 game altogether, but when the Yankees are basically a lock to make the playoffs, it’s tough to get too worked up about it.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.