Today’s news that Chris Carpenter is unlikely to pitch in 2013 and may end up retiring seemingly opens the door for the Cardinals to bring back Kyle Lohse.
After all, Lohse remains unsigned as the draft pick compensation attached to his free agency has scared teams off and the Cardinals wouldn’t have to forfeit a pick to welcome him back (although they would be forfeiting whatever pick they might end up with if he signed elsewhere).
However, when asked about that possibility general manager John Mozeliak said: “Right now, we’re comfortable with what we have.” When pressed further, he said: “I don’t want to get into specifically talking about one player.”
That could change, of course, but there’s plenty of reason to think that’s not just a smokescreen. St. Louis has a pair of really good, MLB-ready pitching prospects in Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal, as well as Joe Kelly who did well stepping into the rotation last year. Those three could compete for one spot behind Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, and Jake Westbrook.
There’s no doubt that losing Carpenter is a big blow to the Cardinals and takes a big chunk out of their outstanding rotation depth–particularly if Garcia isn’t ready for Opening Day following shoulder problems–but they’re as well prepared as a team could be to handle the loss.
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.