Evaluating Hideki Matsui’s Season

Coming into this season people didn’t know what to expect from Hideki Matsui. He was 34 going on 35 and coming off a couple of knee surgeries. Also, being in the final year of a four-year/$52 million contract nearly everyone assumed that he would be out of the Bronx in 2010.

Almost unexpectedly Hideki Matsui has had a big season. Is it enough for him to be resigned for 2010?

Early in the season manager Joe Girardi made news when he announced that he didn’t expect Matsui to play in the field until June, during inter-league play, at the earliest. Well, here we are at the end of September and Matsui hasn’t played in the field once.

That has kept his knees healthy though because he’s probably had his second best season he’s ever had playing in the major leagues at the plate. His .280 average would be a career low for him, but the numbers beyond that are pretty impressive.

In 138 games through Monday morning, Matsui has hit .280 with a .373 OBP (third highest of his career), .521 slugging percentage (second best of his career), .894 OPS (second highest of his career), 28 home runs, and 90 RBI’s. Very strong numbers. Even considering the fact that he hasn’t been able to help defensively at all, he has certainly been productive.

Those offensive numbers stand up to those who might say that the New Yankee Stadium has been helpful for Matsui. In fact, he’s been better on the road. This season he’s OPS’d just .836 at home against .967 on the road. Considering that and the fact that he’s only gotten better as the season has come along means it might not be a terrible idea for the Yankees to resign him.

He’s going to be 36 by the middle of next season though and he’s only managed to play in 140 games twice, assuming he’ll play at least two more games this season, in the past four years. Take that and the fact that he played no games in the field this season should raise flags and he should be considered in decline mode despite the strong season.

Unless they get him at a discount, he has said his preference is to stay with the Yankees, they should pass on him though. He played in just 93 games last season and only 51 in 2006. Just take a look at the Mets, good players aren’t very good when they’re sitting on the bench with an injury.

His production has been good this season, but they’d be better off trying to replace his production with another player.

What’s your opinion?

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