My focus has been on working with children, because the baseball population has been dwindling in Japan. So that’s something I’ve been really focused on. I haven’t actually thought much about how Major League Baseball can be improved.
Dodgers: Yes, the Dodgers have lots of rotation options. Yes, they have elite pitching prospects who could make major impacts in 2018. But they also have a desire to A) Win the World Series and B) Control their payroll. Archer could help the Dodgers accomplish both goals. And remember that LA front-office guru Andrew Friedman traded for Archer once before, when he was the Rays’ GM and Archer was a prospect in Cubs organization.
Nationals: Yes, they have Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg atop the rotation, but they’ve already been linked to Jake Arrieta, and GM Mike Rizzo loves a powerful rotation. And, of course, there is urgency here with Bryce Harper’s expected departure after the 2018 season. Adding Archer for multiple years would help them retain a very legitimate contender status.
Unfortunately for Arrieta, a slow free-agent market forced him to accept a lesser deal than he reportedly turned down from the Cubs. Chicago made a last-ditch call to Arrieta, gauging his interest in a deal similar to what Darvish eventually agreed to. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million deal, but before that deal was closed Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein reportedly put in a final call to Arrieta, who had been a mainstay of the team’s rotation in recent seasons.
Shohei Ohtani, the most celebrated hitter/pitcher in baseball since Babe Ruth, had mixed results in his first MLB game appearance in Tempe, Ariz.
The 23-year-old former Japanese star got the start for the Angels against the Brewers. He went 1 1/3 innings, throwing 31 pitches, before manager Mike Sciosia pulled him with the score tied 2-2. That’s standard procedure for most pitchers in early spring games, to have a low pitch count and come out early.
The right-hander struck out the first and the last batter he faced in the first inning, but labored in between. He fell behind leadoff hitter Jonathan Villar, 3-1, who then smashed a line drive to deep center that bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double.