After having his return from knee surgery pushed back by one day Joey Votto has been activated from the disabled list, but he’s not in the Reds’ lineup for tonight’s game against the Phillies.
Normally teams wouldn’t activate a player and then not play him because it would require sending someone else to the minors, but with rosters expanding on September 1 the Reds have more than 25 guys to use anyway.
Votto was having an MVP-caliber season before the injury, hitting .342 with 14 homers, 36 doubles, and a 1.069 OPS in 86 games. In his absence Todd Frazier has had a huge impact as the Reds’ primary first baseman, batting .292 with 18 homers and an .887 OPS in 109 games, which means manager Dusty Baker will have some tough lineup decisions on his hands assuming Votto is ready to go tomorrow.
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.