During an MLB Network Radio interview today Blue Jays manager John Farrell was asked about reports that the Red Sox are interested in hiring him away from Toronto to replace Bobby Valentine as their manager.
Here’s his reply, via Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe:
I am the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s where I’ve been the last two years and that’s where I currently am. This speculation started to rear its head again probably the final two months of the season. I can tell you this: In my conversations with [Blue Jays general manager] Alex [Anthopoulos], it hasn’t distracted me from my job and what the commitment there is.
I’m extremely challenged, happy as the manager of the Blue Jays. But its obvious that there’s a vacancy to fill there and they’re going about their interview process as it is. Nothing has been communicated directly to me. If the Red Sox have contracted Alex, I’m unaware of that. Where it stands is what I said: [I’m] manager of the Blue Jays.
Not exactly an “I’m not interested in the Red Sox job” or even a “there’s nothing to those reports.” Farrell’s comments seem to say quite a lot without saying much of anything.
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.