The key thing that you should care about most first: starting in 2014, Saturday out-of-market games will no longer be blacked out from MLB.tv and Extra Innings customers, even when Fox has a national game. It’s not as significant as, say, MLB lifting the territory-driven MLB.tv blackouts currently enforced for vast swaths of the country despite the fact that they are unable to watch the games on TV, but this is a step in the right direction.
As for the stuff that the league, the owners and the networks care most about: the league just announced an eight year extension of the TV rights deals for Fox and TBS. For the most part it will remain the same — Saturday games on Fox, Sundays on TBS, the World Series and All-Star Game on Fox, the rest of the playoffs split between them — with a lot of interactive and live streaming as part of the deal.
The money: Selig says that the ESPN, Fox and Turner deals are collectively worth $12.4 billion between 2014 and 2021.
There will be big money rolling in to every major league team now as a result of this deal. Adjust your surprise at teams’ spending habits accordingly.
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.