The Yankees may have a Shohei Ohtani recruiting secret weapon

Shohei Ohtani would be the most sought-after offensive player to go from Japan to the majors since Hideki Matsui in 2003, and the former Yankee hopes Ohtani is able to make the leap next season.

“I’ve only been able to see him on TV, but as far as I’ve seen, he’s a good pitcher and a good hitter, as well,” Matsui said through an interpreter Sunday. “He’s done well in Japan. As a baseball fan, I’m looking forward to how he’s gonna do here in the majors.”

Ohtani — and everyone else — should find out soon whether he’ll be allowed to be posted this offseason.

The MLB Players Association has set Monday as a deadline to sort out the details in a new posting system that involves an agreement among the union, MLB and Nippon Professional Baseball.

If that happens, the 23-year-old could be posted by the Nippon-Ham Fighters by next month.

Matsui was 28 when he signed with the Yankees, and he only had to worry about adjusting to one part of the game.

Ohtani has made it clear he wants to continue hitting, as well as being a starting pitcher — and he’s sacrificing millions to do it.

Although the posting fee still is likely to be $20 million for Ohtani, his signing bonus figures to be between $300,000 and $3.5 million because he is not 25 and not eligible for free agency.

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Since he will be severely limited in what he will be able to sign for because of the collective bargaining agreement, Ohtani could choose the situation that best suits his desire to maintain a dual role.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in the majors who has performed as a pitcher and a hitter,” said Matsui, who hosted a free baseball clinic for Little Leaguers at Columbia’s Satow Stadium, sponsored by the Matsui 55 Baseball Foundation. “I don’t know what may come out of it. I wish him luck. … If it’s something he wants to do and the team allows it, then why not?”

Matsui has spent the past three years as a special assistant to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, and his primary role is working with minor league hitters throughout the season.

Should the team request it, though, Matsui said he would be willing to help recruit Ohtani to The Bronx.

“If the Yankees approach me and ask me to get involved in some way, I am an employee of the Yankees, so it would be my duty,” said Matsui, who concluded the clinic with a hitting demonstration that ended when he hit one over the right-field fence.

There are several hurdles to clear before the possibility of Ohtani playing in the majors in 2018 is a reality, but once they are cleared, the Yankees are almost certain to be heavily involved.

Perhaps having the best Japanese slugger in MLB history on their side will help the Yankees’ cause.

Source: https://nypost.com/2017/11/19/the-yankees-may-have-a-shohei-ohtani-recruiting-secret-weapon/

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