Philadelphia’s decision to re-sign Jimmy Rollins looked like a mess two months into his three-year, $33 million contract, as the former MVP hit just .224 with one homer and a .558 OPS through 47 games.
At age 33 and coming off back-to-back sub-.400 slugging percentage seasons it was starting to look like Rollins’ power was gone, but instead he’s been an extra-base hit machine since then.
Rollins went 2-for-5 with a homer and a double last night and is now 38-for-110 (.345) with seven homers, 10 doubles, and two triples in his last 25 games. During that time he raised his batting average from .224 to .268 and his OPS from .558 to .734, both of which are right around his career marks of .272 and .760.
Whether or not that means the Phillies will eventually regret giving Rollins a three-year commitment remains to be seen, but as they try to claw their way back into the playoff picture his re-emergence along with Chase Utley’s impending return has to have fans feeling at least a little bit optimistic.
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.