We wrote last night about the ridiculously and stupidly macho baloney from Kirk Gibson and the Diamondabcks. In short: they retaliated for what was almost certainly an accidental beaning — or, maybe, some old hard feelings over past encounters with the Brewers — by intentionally plunking Ryan Braun. The dumbest part was, even if the retaliation was justified, it came at an awful time, because plunking Braun loaded the bases for the Brewers’ hottest hitter, Jonathan Lucroy, who immediately hit a grand slam. In a game that was close and still winnable for the Brewers.
After the game, Brewers starter Kyle Lohse had this to say about the Dbacks’ strategy:
“You know what? They won tough-guy points today. But I don’t know where the stats are for those. You’re going to play tough-guy stuff? Go ahead. We’re winning games.”
That sort of instant karma is pretty damn satisfying. But really, given that the Dbacks’ very own GM is on record talking about how it’s a team value and strategy to hit opposing batters, I would hope that in addition to the instant karma, someone at MLB — all of whom I’m pretty sure have Tony La Russa’s telephone number — do something about it. Because there’s no place for this sort of garbage in the game.
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.