The Rangers and the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters of the Japan Pacific League have announced a partnership. Gerry Fraley of SportsDay wrote a full report on the news, noting that the partnership will include exchanging of “ideas and information” about business, ballpark construction, scouting and player development. Notably, the Fighters will also send one of their own instructors both to Rangers spring training camp and to travel with the team during the regular season. The partnership may have evolved from the depth of scouting personnel that Texas deployed to scout players such as Yu Darvish, Yoshinori Tateyama and Shohei Ohtani. “We look forward to helping each other in a variety of ways,” Rangers President Jon Daniels said of the new alliance. It’s fair to wonder whether this partnership will allow Texas to get its foot in the door with future Fighters talent interested in making the transition to MLB.
More items from the American League’s western clubs…
- The Athletics recently hired 24-year-old Haley Alvarez as their scouting coordinator; she’s the first woman to be hired by the club as a talent evaluator. Alyson Footer of MLB.com wrote a piece on the subject detailing the former intern’s rise to her new position. Alvarez’ journey to scouting began with baseball operations experience she gained during her college days at the University of Virginia, followed by internships with the Commissioner’s Office and the Boston Red Sox organization. Following an internship with the A’s, GM David Forst offered to sponsor her for scout school. Though Alvarez didn’t even know such a thing existed, she was excited about the opportunity, and used it to fuel her career path. She’s now using modern analytics and new advanced technology to help the A’s bring in talent. “You don’t have to have played baseball, which is a common misconception,” says Alvarez, who hopes to inspire other women to pursue career paths in baseball operations.
- In other Athletics news, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports that sophomore Chad Pinder is preparing to play first base for the club on occasion. Because Ryon Healy was shipped to Seattle this offseason, the club needs a backup first baseman. “I think the last time I played first base was in eighth grade,” said Pinder, though he did take ground balls during practice there last season. The Oakland utilityman started at six different positions for the club last season while hitting .232/.292/.457 across 309 plate appearances with 15 homers and 42 RBI. The righty-hitter struck out in nearly 30% of his plate appearances.
- Angels GM Billy Eppler is headed to Japan in order to help with Shohei Ohtani’s transition process, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register writes. He’ll be bringing three other Angels personnel with him. “We spent so much time saying what we’re about to Ohtani and putting things forward for him,” said Eppler. “The main purpose of this is now to get his input and feedback on things.” Eppler also added that Ohtani is scheduled to get on a mound in two weeks; there don’t seem to be any concerns about his health at this time.