Making official what was reported earlier this week, the Rays and David DeJesus have agreed to a two-year contract extension that includes a third-year team option.
DeJesus gets $10.5 million guaranteed and then Tampa Bay will have a $5 million option on his age-36 season in 2016. He’s coming off a two-year, $10 million deal signed with the Cubs and that contract included a $6.5 million option or $1.5 million buyout for 2014. So this is a nearly identical pact.
DeJesus had a pretty typical year, hitting .251 with eight homers and a .729 OPS in 122 games for the Cubs and Rays. His offensive production is slightly below par for a corner outfielder, but clearly the Rays feel his plus defense makes up for it and then some. Expect him to start every day versus right-handers and sit versus most left-handers in 2014.
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.