Yesterday we heard that the Indians had made contact with Terry Francona about their fresh managerial vacancy. The question was whether Francona would truly be interested in an Indians job that presented (a) a rebuild; and (b) less money than he made in Boston. To that end, Peter Gammons throws this out there this morning:
Interesting. Sandy Alomar is a fan favorite and, according to some, the favorite among several Indians players. Of course, Indians players probably aren’t the determining factor here given that, as a group, they’ve not won anything and the bulk of them likely won’t be around the next time the Tribe wins anything.
As for Francona, it’ll be interesting to see if he really wants to go into a situation where rebuilding is going down as opposed to taking over a more veteran-laded team seemingly closer to contention. Although, given what Baltimore and, to a lesser extent, Pittsburgh did this year, the line between rebuilding and contending is a lot thinner than it used to be. That’s probably especially true in the AL Central.
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.