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|Posted: Sun May 14th, 2017 04:30 am||
|Jon Daniels is hoping to strike gold in the Japanese free-agent market again.
Shohei Otani, the Japanese pitcher-slugger hybrid who could tempt Major League Baseball clubs this coming offseason, is currently on the disabled list with a thigh strain. That didn't stop the Texas Rangers general manager from traveling across the world to get a personal glimpse of the star in some workouts, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.
Rangers bench boss Jeff Banister shed some light on Daniels' decision to fly to Japan solely to watch Otani.
"This is a premier athlete that's a baseball player who plays in Japan for a championship team," Banister said, according to Sullivan. "Very engaging, with a passion to play the game."
Had a lingering ankle injury not ruled out Otani for the World Baseball Classic in March, Daniels may have been able to save his Air Miles.
The GM also made the intercontinental trip in 2011 to get a leg up on the competition in the Yu Darvish sweepstakes - which the Rangers eventually won.
Banister feels the Rangers could land this star international free agent too, with American League rules potentially allowing the club to manage Otani's rare, elite mix of pitching and hitting.
"One of the things you have to take into consideration once a pitcher goes out and pitches: Where is their energy level and recovery?" Banister told Sullivan. "We play in the AL, so the DH type of situation, you could manage it. It's the overall energy level in between."