BOSTON -- It could be weeks -- or even months -- before a resolution is reached, but, according to a baseball source, the Red Sox are one of the most interested teams in pursuit of Japanese phenom Shohei Otani, an 18-year old high school pitcher.
Otani has made it clear that he wishes to pitch in Major League Baseball.
"It's been my dream to play in the majors since I started school,'' Otani told a news agency recently. "I want to play over there as early as possible. I will learn the hard way. I understand the risks. It's not about the money. It's about following my dream."
Otani has been compared to Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers, with a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s.
The Japanese amateur draft is later this week and though Otani has signaled his intention to pitch in North America, it's possible he could still be drafted by a team in Nippon Professional Baseball, which would complicate his availability to an MLB team.
Other clubs said to have interest in Otani include the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Rangers.
Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis.
Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time.
The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.
Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball.
Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer. And…
US ambassador to Japan?
Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.
The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons.
When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team."
Would he be interested?
"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.
Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.
Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.