…and it’s apparently done. Lohud is reporting that according to the NY Times Tyler Kepner that the Angels signed WS MVP Hideki Matsui to a one-year deal.
Now LoHud is reporting that after losing out on Bay, who apparently has rejected Boston’s offer, that the Bosox are targeting Mike Cameron.
I will miss Matsui’s clutch hitting and professionalism. He’ll always be a Yankee hero in my eyes and I wish him the best. Now the Yanks need to somehow maintain JD. Move him to DH, let him play the OF forty times or so and have Granderson in CF with Melky in LF. Keep Gardner. Don’t listen to KC or the Chisox (rumors are that they inquired). Should anything happen to either Melky or Granderson, you have backup. Besides, Gardner is still valuable as a PR and/or defensive replacement in those close ballgames.
The 35 year old Matsui spent seven years with the Yankees, hitting .292 with 140 HR. He was rooked out of the ROY in 2003, finishing 2nd to…of all people…Angel Berroa. The excuse was his time in Japan. Nevermind guys like Nomo, Ichiro, etc. Matsui finished 24th in MVP voting in 2004 and 14th in 2005. Four times he drove in 100 or more runs.
In postseason play, Matsui hit .312 in 56 games. 10 HR and 39 RBI. He tied Bobby Richardson’s record of six RBI in a WS game. Do you remember that this year’s WS MVP (Matsui) had not one, but TWO five-RBI games against the Red Sox in the 2004 ALCS? There was also that big double off Pedro in 2003 ALCS Game 7.
I’ve understood most of the year that Matsui most likely was gone and understood the reason(s) why. Age, not being able to play the field, etc.
I understand that. I’ll still miss him.
Update: It now seems as if Mike Cameron will be going to Boston. In a way, I’m glad, for I was getting tired of King, George III writing about Cameron and the Yanks in the NY Post. Cameron will be 37 soon, and strikes out a ton. Granderson is one thing, but do you really want two 150 or more whiff guys on the same team?
I texted the “Truth,” Josh, about something. He is 100% against it, but I’m not as against it as he is. I asked, “If JD and Matsui are both gone, do you look at Thome on a 1-year deal?” He doesn’t like it, but I wouldn’t mind. I always wondered what Thome could do in Yankee Stadium. Ok, he’s 39. But his 2009 wasn’t that bad. .249-23-77 and US Cellular (the New Comiskey, I say) is ok, but Yankee Stadium is Yankee Stadium for a lefty bat like Thome’s. No $13M like he got with Chicago last year, but you wonder how cheaply he would be on a 1-year deal. Does he run well, no…but then, neither did Matsui. Problem: Hasn’t played the field since 2007. Not on a regular basis since 2005. So, like Matsui, you have someone who doesn’t play the field. He didn’t hit lefties well (.209 in 2009) OPS+ was 118 last year (Matsui’s was 131). In 2008 he hit .245-34-90, OPS+ 123. After going to the Dodgers, he basically rotted as a PH. I don’t know what AL team would want Thome, but there may be something left. Not 30-90 mind you, but 20-80 in the right situation. MLBTR (which has been terrible in their predictions of who will go where thus far) had Thome to Oakland. Looking at Baltimore, Luke Scott DH’d (I’m looking at places in the AL where Thome’s bat is fine for the ballpark). .258-25-77, OPS+ 115 for Scott. Thome wasn’t bad last year. He may not get the 36 HR he needs for 600, but there may be something left in the tank. 118 isn’t a bad OPS+ for a 28 year old, much less 38. Am I leary of another DH who, like Matsui, can’t play the field? Of course. I’m just looking at alternatives in case Damon, like Matsui, leaves. In other words, I’m not that sold on Juan Miranda.
Question: How cheap would Thome be? Looking around the AL, I’m not sure of another good fit for Thome.
I read someone talking about Nick Johnson coming back. I don’t see it. Too injury-prone. I also overheard that Johnson said some things about the Yanks when he went to Montreal. Johnson, though, made $5.5 M last year and would seem to fit the Yanks approach to hitting well. At DH, maybe the guy would stay healthy. His D is excellent and the Yanks would lose nothing when they want to DH Teixeira for half a day off. Johnson, 31, hit .291-8-62 last year for Washington and Florida. Not a power hitter (23 HR in a season is his career high) he is patient (99 walks last year) and his OPS+ last year was 122. His 162 g. average is .273-19-80, but 102 walks meaning a career OPS+ of 125.
I am just kicking the tires on possible and cheap alternatives to DH if Damon leaves as well as Matsui. Maybe Cashman does stay in house with Miranda. I’m just not so sure on him.
…and I’m not sold on Russell “All or Nothing” Branyan. Just .234 lifetime, lefty power but averages 174 K per 162 g. OPS+ 113 but too many K, too low a BA for my taste despite the 30 HR potential.
Update II: No official word on many things (Cameron, Matsui, the 3-way deal w/Halladay and Lee) as of Tues. morning, but you know the saying…where there’s smoke, there’s fire.