Braves, Giants brass apologize to fans

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Has this always happened, or is it a new thing?

Braves’ President John Schuerholz and Giants managing partner Larry Baer have each written letters to the fans talking about how much of a bummer it was for the teams to miss the playoffs but, dadgummit, we’re gonna double our efforts and happiness is but a season away.

Actually, they’re not both technically apologies.  Schuerholz’s sounds more like that and, as is clear from the personalized greeting, was sent via email to whoever had signed up to get Braves’ spam. Baer’s letter is more like a hybrid commiseration/introduction with a few bones thrown to the idea that 2011 was not fun. It’s in open letter form, posted at the Giants’ website.

I guess it’s a nice gesture. It’d be better if the Braves’ one contained pics of Fredi Gonzalez getting worked over by a couple of hired goons, but it’s nice enough.  I just kind of wonder what the letter from the Astros or the Twins would look like.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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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.