Not gonna say that there was bad blood between Bobby Valentine and Bob McClure, but …

49 Comments

I figure people in Boston followed this more closely than the rest of us, but this passage from Sean McAdam’s story about the Red Sox firing Bob McClure says an awful lot:

McClure was granted a leave of absence from the team earlier in the season to attend to a sick infant who was seriously ill and Niemann served as interim pitching coach in McClure’s absence. After McClure returned, Valentine later made mention of McClure’s “two-week vacation” before correcting himself.

Gordon Edes, talking about the same verbal slip, firmly believes that it was no accident on Valentine’s part.

The Red Sox’ pitching stinks, so it probably made no difference, but when you are so far from being on the same page as your manager that he’s jabbing you over a leave of absence to attend to your sick child, you really never had any job security at all.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.