The Shohei Otani Show was the talk of the general managers meetings Monday, and it figures to have staying power this winter.
Otani, a standout pitcher and hitter in Japan, is hoping to do both in the majors and is willing to move now despite signing restrictions that would deny him the potential nine-figure deal he could get if he waited a couple of more years.
Every major-league team would be interested, especially at a relatively low cost. Otani, 23, would have to sign a minor-league contract with whoever signs him but could make up for it in endorsements if he’s as good as hyped.
The idea of a player playing the outfield or designated hitter on days he doesn’t pitch is intriguing if Otani can pull it off.
“It’s difficult,” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said. “It depends on the quality of both skill sets. The usage and the expectations of it will really come into play. It’s going to take a special player to do both. It’s hard enough to do one or the other.”
Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said only rare pitchers, such as former Diamondbacks right-hander Micah Owings, who hit .283 with an .813 OPS in six seasons, could have succeeded as major-league hitters. Hoyer also mentioned Rick Ankiel, a pitcher who converted to the outfield after bouts of wildness.
“It’s an amazing thing to be able to be that good in either one,” Hoyer said. “That doesn’t happen. But who knows the path if Zack Greinke had decided to continue playing infield and not pitching? If he’d gone through the minor leagues that way, who knows? He might’ve been good enough.”
Beltran retires: After announcing his retirement Monday, outfielder Carlos Beltran said he could be interested in managing the Yankees.
Beltran told ESPN Deportes that if he got an opportunity to interview, he would not rule it out.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman is interviewing candidates to replace the fired Joe Girardi but would not reveal if Beltran has a realistic shot.
“I am aware of his interest in managing in the future, and I’ll leave it at that,” Cashman said.
Few players go straight from playing to managing, though Cashman noted that Girardi, Joe Torre and Lou Piniella went from the field to the manager’s office in short time.
“Today’s game is different, but it’s happened before,” he said.
Beltran, a potential Hall of Fame candidate, finished with 435 home runs, 312 stolen bases and a 1.021 OPS in 65 postseason games.
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