Chris Coghlan has gone from Rookie of the Year winner to afterthought with Marlins

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Chris Coghlan hit .321 to win the Rookie of the Year award in 2009, but has batted just .252 with a .695 OPS in two seasons since then and spent the final three months of this year in the minors.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post asked Marlins president Larry Beinfest where Coghlan fits into the team’s 2012 plans and the answer seemed to indicate that he doesn’t figure prominently:

It’s been disappointing, really, the last two years. I think this is an important offseason and certainly spring training for Chris to get back to where he was when he won the Rookie of the Year. We still see him coming back as an outfielder and in center field.  He needs to re-establish himself healthy which we anticipate he will be with the knee or knees and come in and compete. We already know he can be an offensive force, a great left-handed hitter.

“Great left-handed hitter” is obviously a stretch and based on his minor-league track record Coghlan was playing over his head quite a bit as a rookie, but he’s also still just 27 years old and at the very least would seem to have a future somewhere as a utility man. Whether that future will be with the Marlins is unclear, because Capozzi writes that they’ll be looking for a new center fielder this offseason and speculates that Coghlan will begin 2012 back in the minors unless he’s traded.

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.