Speedster Billy Hamilton an unlikely callup for Reds

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150-steal guy Billy Hamilton would seem to be a nice piece to have around with expanded rosters in September, but the Reds are “probably not” going to call him up, GM Walt Jocketty said Wednesday.

The 21-year-old Hamilton has set a minor league record with 154 steals for high-A Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola this season. He’s hit .319/.418/.431 between the two levels.

If Hamilton doesn’t get a callup, it’ll be mostly about the 40-man roster. Not only is Hamilton not on it now, but he won’t need to be added this winter, giving the Reds an extra spot to play with then. The Reds are at 40 right now, and they don’t have a whole lot of flexibility.

Which is too bad, because it’d be great to see Hamilton show off his wheels next month. The game’s fastest player, he would make an impact as a pinch-runner.

Hamilton is slated to take part in the Arizona Fall League when it kicks off in October.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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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.