UPDATE: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com suggests that the Orioles could be a surprise fit. While the two sides have talked in recent days, he acknowledges that this is more of a guess on his part. Long live the mystery team.
8:35 PM: Coco Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle today that his client has made up his mind on where he’ll sign.
“Covelli has made up his mind,” said Comte, using Crisp’s given name. “Basically, we just have to let that team know.”
The Athletics are interested in re-signing Crisp, but Compte told Slusser than he has discussed his client with 13-14 teams this offseason. The Cubs and Dodgers have also been linked to the free agent center fielder in recent weeks.
Crisp, who turned 32 in November, batted .264/314/.379 with eight home runs, 54 RBI and a .693 OPS over 583 plate appearances in 2011. He tied Brett Gardner for the American League lead with 49 stolen bases.
After a report yesterday linked free agent outfielder Cody Ross to the A’s, Slusser hears that the club has also spoken with Ryan Ludwick and Conor Jackson.
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.