Orioles expected to give Buck Showalter a three-year extension

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We’ve known for a while that the Orioles are nearing an extension with manager Buck Showalter, but now we have some of the specifics. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Showalter is expected to get a three-year extension which will carry him through through the 2016 season. His current contract expires after next season.

Multiple reports indicate that Showalter flew from his Dallas-area home yesterday to meet with Orioles owner Peter Angelos, so they are likely working on the finishing touches. The extension could be formally announced next week.

It’s hard to find a more deserving candidate, as Showalter is fresh off leading the Orioles to their first postseason berth since 1997 and owns a 196-185 record since taking over as manager in July of 2010. He was recently named “Marylander of the Year” by the Baltimore Sun, so he’s truly the toast of the town right now.

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.