Four months and 18 horrible starts into a four-year, $49 million contract Ricky Nolasco revealed to the Twins that he’s been pitching through elbow pain since spring training.
That apparently came as a complete shock to the Twins, who’ve placed the 31-year-old right-hander on the disabled list with a strained elbow.
Nolasco posted a 5.90 ERA in 104 innings before being shut down, allowing the most runs and the most hits in the American League while seeing his secondary numbers collapse and his velocity slip as well. Minnesota signed Nolasco in large part because of his durability, which included starting at least 30 games and logging at least 185 innings in five of the previous six seasons.
Sam Deduno figures to replace him in the rotation and if Nolasco’s injury proves to be a major one the Twins may turn to prospects Alex Meyer or Trevor May to fill his spot.
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.