22-year-old righty Shohei Otani, a standout in Japan’s NPB, has been drawing plenty of attention lately as his Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters train in Arizona. It’s not hard to see why, as the power righty is coming off of a season in which he put up a 2.24 ERA over 160 2/3 innings, with 11.0 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9. Otani, who is also a productive hitter, says he’s always dreamed of playing in the majors, as MLB.com’s Barry Bloom writes. But it’s not yet clear when that chance will arise. As Eric Longenhagen explains for ESPN.com, his current team has little incentive to post him now, given that it is capped at $20MM regardless of when it does so. But he does add that some believe the Fighters would allow him to depart if a request was made. If and when that occurs, you can expect a bidding frenzy unlike many others
More than a few people are smiling and nodding these days when they think about Bernie Stowe, the beloved clubhouse manager of the Reds who died this week, and I’m among his eternal admirers.
The man has many talents.
Jenrry Mejia’s baseball career, which had dazzled scouts and thrilled teammates and smothered opposing hitters, is on hold, perhaps forever. We may never know how great he could have been. That is the sad part.
The Athletics have acquired outfielder Khris Davis from the Brewers in a deal that will send catching prospect Jacob Nottingham and righty Bubba Derby to Milwaukee, per announcements from both teams. Oakland has designated pitcher Sean Nolin to clear roster space. It’s certainly an interesting swap for both organizations. Oakland will presumably utilize the slugging Davis in left field, where he could share time with veteran Coco Crisp and another younger, right-handed slugger in Mark Canha. The move bolsters the club’s depth across the outfield grass while delivering some upside, too. After all, Davis only just turned 28, will play at the league minimum this year, and can be controlled for three more seasons thereafter via arbitration. And he’s shown quite a bit with the bat, following a solid 2014 with an even better campaign last year.
The Athletics appear to be nearing some kind of trade, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter links). It appears to involve the Brewers, she suggests, with outfielder Khris Davis a possible target. Slusser also notes, though, that there’s “nothing official” and that the team has previously had interest in southpaw Will Smith. That’s obviously not much to work from, but it certainly seems as if some kind of transaction could be going down this evening. We haven’t heard of any particular connection between these two clubs, but it’s not surprising to learn of one now. Oakland has been actively seeking to put a winning roster on the diamond for 2016, of course, while Milwaukee is headed in quite the opposite direction.
In the third installment of MLB.com’s seven-part Spring Training preview, we take a look at some of those White Sox prospects who could help the team in the future.
Spring Training gets underway in a week, and ideally the Marlins would like to add another pitcher or two before pitchers and catchers take the field on Feb. 19. But the signings have to make sense, and the club is willing to wait, even if it means reaching agreements after practices begin.
Malvina Singer is amazingly stoic, grieving the sudden loss of her husband of nearly 43 years, Tom, our 15-year colleague at MLB.com, at 67. It has been a whirlwind of shock for the family, fortunately a far-reaching, faithful, highly supportive and positive group.
It’s a nostalgic day at Wrigley Field, as former Cubs outfielder Matt Murton has officially signed a minor league contract to return to the Cubs, MLBTR has learned. A report from Yahoo Japan first reported that an agreement was in place last week. The now-34-year-old Murton was originally selected by the Red Sox with the No. 32 overall pick in the 2003 draft but was traded from Boston to Chicago in the four-team Nomar Garciaparra blockbuster. Murton made his big league debut with the Cubs in 2005 and went on to spend three-and-a-half seasons as a productive member of the team’s outfield, batting .294/.362/.448 in his time with the Cubs. Murton would eventually be traded to the Athletics (alongside Josh Donaldson) in a trade that netted the Cubs right-handers Rich Harden and Chad Gaudin.