Jason Bay had an awful 2011 and his spring has thus far been pretty awful too. That has some people suggesting to Mike Puma of the New York Post that Bay may soon be a $16 million platoon guy:
Though the idea has not yet reached the discussion stage among team executives, a club official yesterday floated the possibility that if Bay is struggling six or seven weeks into the season, the Mets could explore other options, including a platoon in left.
Bay is hitting .195 with no RBIs this spring after going 0-for-3 in the Mets’ 9-2 exhibition loss to the Tigers yesterday.
It sounds more like bored, end-of-spring-training speculation more than an actual idea anyone in power has. But that’s how these sorts of things start, right? Someone gets the idea and then it gets floated?
Anyway, if Bay picks up in 2012 like he played in 2011, there will be a lot of people talking about what to do with him, and platooning could be one option.
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.