MLB cleared the way for all 30 teams to bid on Japanese two-way star Shohei Otahni and the Red Sox have interest, Dave Dombrowski confirmed to the Boston Herald.
“Would acknowledge our interest,” Dombrowski texted The Herald’s Michael Silverman. “Beyond that, all would be confidential.”
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The revised system allowing for the posting of Otahni, 23, who was equally adept in Japan as both a left-handed hitter and right-handed pitcher in Japan (2.52 career ERA, 30 homers last season), was announced by MLB after it reached an agreement with the players union and Japanese baseball.
Ohtani representatives asked all major league teams to answer a questionnaire outlining the reasons Ohtani should play for them.
Teams interested in signing him are limited to the amount they have available in their international bonus pools. According to the Associated Press, the Texas Rangers have the biggest available allotment at $3.535 million, followed by the New York Yankees at an even $3.5 million. Ohtani must be signed by an MLB team before midnight, Dec. 22 and his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, will receive a $20 million release fee.
Steven Wright has made it an easy decision for Alex Cora when the injured Drew Pomeranz returns from the disabled list.
When Pomeranz went down with biceps tendinitis on June 5, Wright immediately stepped up in his spot throwing seven shutout innings vs the Tigers. That proved to be no fluke, as the knuckleballer followed up with another scoreless outing in 6.2 innings pitched vs the Orioles.
Then on Saturday in Seattle, Wright put the exclamation point on his case to take over for Pomeranz in the rotation for the foreseeable future. The right-hander's scoreless streak reached 24.2 innings before the Mariners were able to scratch across a run in the third. That would be the only run scored against Wright in the game, as the 2016 All-Star again threw seven strong innings.
In eight starts this season, Pomeranz hasn't made it to the seven-inning mark. In 2017, he did so only once in 32 starts. The left-hander's inability to go deep in games has made him the odd man out in the rotation at least until another starter goes down, or Wright begins to show signs of inconsistency.
Besides, Pomeranz has had success as a reliever in the past. He thrived in the role in 2014 and 2015 with Oakland. It makes more sense to have him as an added lefty in the bullpen, rather than use a knuckleball pitcher in relief.
Wright shouldn't be expected to keep up this kind of pace. But he has once again earned himself a starting role, for as long as he can provide some much-needed stability at the back end of the rotation.
With a number of top-round Red Sox draft picks beginning to ink deals, including first-round pick Triston Casas of American Heritage High (Fla.), a friendly reminder that Boston's farm could use some serious infusion of life.
The top-ranked prospects in the Red Sox' minor league system are. . . how do we say this politely? Underperforming . . .
(Stats as of late last week.)