The Braves had both Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens up for bids over the winter before declining to trade either. Jurrjens’ status with the team going forward remains unsettled, but in light of Prado’s strong campaign, the Braves are hoping to lock their No. 2 hitter up to a long-term deal, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports.
The plan almost certainly will be to have Prado take over at third base next year with Chipper Jones headed off to retirement. The 28-year-old has played mostly left field this season, but he has made 16 starts at third in place of Chipper. Overall, he’s hit .318/.376/.451 in 337 at-bats. If he keeps it up, it’d be the third time in his four full seasons that he’s batted over .300, with only 2011’s disappointing .260/.302/.385 campaign standing out.
Prado is making $4.75 million this year and should be in line for $6 million-$7 million next year in his final season of arbitration. If the Braves can sign him for that same kind of annual salar for three years, such a pact wouldn’t be a bad idea. They have an intriguing third-base prospect in Edward Salcedo, but he’s just 20 and he could still go either way.
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.