The Twins enter tonight’s game against the Rays 63-82, meekly doggy-paddling to the end of the regular season. They have lost six of their last eight games, including a humiliating 18-3 loss to the first-place Athletics. CEO Jim Pohlad told the media that, given the way the team has played, “it’s embarrassing to walk through the concourse”.
Pohlad promised to help GM Terry Ryan “however he wants me to help”, citing free agents as an example. However, he doesn’t intend to get involved with long-term contracts.
Via Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press:
“We would spend any amount of money in the current year, but in order to be able to spend that amount of money, you often have to obligate yourself so far out also.
“But there will be situations that will work. We’re not going to spend just for the heck of it, but, personally, I believe that could be a way to put some juice in there.”
There is an urgency, Pohlad said, to making the Twins a contender.
“We don’t want to wait,” he said. “I’m not saying we’re not going to do two- or three- or four-year contracts, but that seven-, eight-year stuff is a killer.”
It doesn’t seem like the Twins are a handful of free agents away from contention, but with their in-progress youth movement and with Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano progressing, dealing with veteran free agents on one- or two-year deals may not be such a bad idea. It certainly makes more sense than borrowing from the promising future to supplement an uncertain present.
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.