So Long, Hideki

Brian Cashman said in the beginning of the offseason that he wouldn’t let postseason performance influence his personnel decisions, which, if you read between the lines, seemed to indicate that Hideki Matsui‘s MVP award was pretty much meaningless to how he would be evaluated.

hideki-matsuiWell, it looks like Matsui will be going to the Angels for 1 year and $6.5 million, so Cashman stayed true to his word.  For the most part, I think I agree with the way the Yankees handled this (more on that later) but I did want to throw up a post as a farewell to Godzilla.

Matsui was always a professional player and a much better hitter than fans gave him credit for.  Lost in the debacle of the 2004 postseason was that Matsui was really starting to become a star player.  Unfortunately, 2005’s wrist injury derailed that and while Matsui always (and I mean always – seriously, look at his BR page) hit, he quickly became a defensive liability and was never quite the hitter he was in 2004.

We all know about the subsequent knee injuries that also caused Matsui to miss a lot of time.  Really, that is why this makes sense: in some ways, the Yankees caught lightning in a bottle last year, getting Matsui to stay healthy so long.  He posted his highest slugging percentage since 2004.  What are the odds he can duplicate that again, at 36 years old?  The Yankees know the deal with Matsui’s knees better than anyone, so I think it’s clear they truly believe he is a health risk.

As for the Angels, they essentially traded an old, injury-prone, overrated slugger in Vladimir Guerrero, for an old, injury-prone, underrated slugger in Matsui – and for less than half the cost.  So, for the Angels, it makes sense.

I have to say, I really have no idea what this means for Johnny Damon or anyone else, though I hope the Yankees stick to their plan of relative financial conservatism when it comes to corner outfielders and designated hitters.  But right now if you offered me Matsui for 1 year and $6.5 million or Damon for 2 years and $19 million, I probably choose Matsui.

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2 Responses to So Long, Hideki

  1. DJ says:

    I agree with this article of the two I would prefer to sign Matsui for one year against Damon for 2 years. Johnny Damon is playing a dangerous game right now because the yankees will not budge from there stance on how many years he should get. And Boston rotation I have to say is the best in baseball but there offense is not the best we have the best offense. Watch out though where is the market for Holiday and Bay now the yankees might make a splash and sign Holiday because he is going to be a lot cheaper than we paid for Tex. I would like to see us add a healthy Ben Sheets to the rotation though give us more depth. All in all we are ok because we are the champs everyone else is chasing us.

  2. Matsui will always be a great Yankee in my eyes–terrific and clutch hitter, excellent against lefties, and a good teammate. The guy apologized for getting injured after he broke his wrist against Boston in May 2006. He'll completely deserved to go out with the Yankees with that magnificent Game 6, MVP-clinching performance. He will be missed, and will always be one of my all-time favorite Yankees.

    I wouldn't mind JD for two years–TWO, though. He and Jeter comprise the game's best 1-2 punch atop an order. But his defense has faltered, and I would love to see the Yankees pursue Crawford after 2010.