So maybe Cole Hamels is available after all

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The Phillies have said for a couple of months that they weren’t putting Cole Hamels on the market. But then this got tweeted:

I’ve never truly believed it when teams say players are untouchable or that they are not having conversations about them. It’d be malpractice not to! That doesn’t mean they’re seriously considering a trade. Or that they disrespect the player. It’s just that there’s no use going through life with a hand tied behind your back. Talk to some GM about your “untouchable” player and you may find out that GM is dumb and will overpay. Or, at the very least, you get some intelligence about what’s going on in the marker place.

I bet someone will take issue with the Phillis for “making Hamels available” to whatever extent he is, in fact, available. But it’d be way dumber for Ruben Amaro to throw his cell phone in the toilet and not accept any calls at all.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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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.