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Blog Entry

Hot streak could have Matsui on the move

Posted on: August 9, 2011 3:07 pm
 
Matsui

By Evan Brunell

When the trade deadline closed on July 31, the focus immediately turned toward which players could be traded by August 31 through the waiver system, fronted by closer Heath Bell of the Padres.

Nowhere was the name Hideki Matsui mentioned, which was for obvious reasons. Here was a 37-year-old on his third team in three years, the free-agent market so poor he had to accept a job with the Athletics and ply his trade in the cavernous O.co Coliseum (yes, it really is named that). To no one's surprise, his aging bat and park limited him to a .209/.290/.327 line through July 10 in 302 plate appearances. At that point, his trade value was nil, and even a .466/.515/.724 in the 16 days running up to the deadline weren't enough to send him packing.

Except Matsui has continued to hit. Since the All-Star Game, Matsui is scorching hot, racking up a .451/.495/.720 line in 93 plate appearances, and it's time to sit up and take notice. Matsui is now a prime candidate to be dealt in August, especially if he keeps up the production. Given his poor season to date, teams may opt to wait until closer to Aug. 31 before jumping on Matsui, but suitors will be there, including the Yankees.

New York is where Godzilla plied his trade for seven years before departing after 2009. The Yankees recently benched Jorge Posada and are moving forward with an Andruw Jones - Eric Chavez platoon, with Posada getting the occasional start. Matsui's fit in New York isn't entirely clear as the team plans on calling up top prospect Jesus Montero to give DH a try once they evaluate the Jones/Chavez combo. But it's no sure thing that Montero can impress before Aug. 31. If he doesn't start off with a bang, you can easily see GM Brian Cashman calling Oakland and asking about Matsui, who won't fetch an exorbitant price due to his age and the limited timeframe of his hot streak. Even Cashman, who is evermore adamant about hanging onto his prospects, will be willing to give up a midlevel prospect to inject some more thump for the postseason.

Surprisingly, the Yankees may be Matsui's only chance of getting out of Oakland, unless a NL team was interested in his pinch-hitting capabilities or was willing to live with the Japanese import's defense in left field, which is possible. But for a starting job, Matsui is essentially limited to DH. And therein lies the problem.

Despite only three AL teams recording average production out of the DH spot, the Yankees remain Matsui's best -- if not only -- bet. These three teams' DHs total at least 2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). That figure is representative an average full-time player, so there are 11 teams that are getting substandard production. Those that are not are the Rangers, Red Sox and Twins. That leaves the Yankees, Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Angels and Rays with hopes of the postseason and yet substandard DH production -- but no obvious fits.

The Twins and Indians won't be interested now that Jim Thome and Travis Hafner, respectively, are back from the DL, The White Sox are stuck with Adam Dunn, while the Tigers are pleased with rotating Victor Martinez and Magglio Ordonez through the DH spot. The Rays are pretty distant in the wild-card chase, so it's unlikely they strike for Matsui. That leaves the Angels, Matsui's former employer -- but Bobby Abreu occupies the DH spot, and there's no real interest in Los Angeles for shifting Abreu back to left, moving Vernon Wells to center and taking youngster Peter Bourjos, one of the team's few bright spots, out of the lineup. Of these teams, the White Sox are the best bet as they can simply sit Adam Dunn (which they are currently doing) in favor of Matsui, but it's still a long shot.

While any of these teams could take a different direction and grab Matsui, the odds are low. If it isn't the Yankees, Matsui may have to finish out his year in Oakland or on the bench in the NL. Only a truly desperate team at this point would consider Matsui for left field -- but all it takes is one desperate team for a deal to come together.

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Comments
peulouy
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:13 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:49 pm
 

Hot streak could have Matsui on the move

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Since: Dec 27, 2008
Posted on: August 9, 2011 11:43 pm
 

Hot streak could have Matsui on the move

What makes this author think Matsui wants out of Oakland!! Typical...I don't believe he wants out. He is having a pretty good year and is hot lately. He may also be having fun on a cool team with good guys!! Not everything in life revolves around the Yankees.I hope Oakland keeps him for another year.

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You do know he played there. And loved it there. Right?

I cna see him playing out your scenario if another team came calling, but be realistic. Why languish in Oakland another month or two when you have the choice to go back to NY, chase a ring perhaps, and be doing it with a bunch of old buddies. He won'tr pass on that if given the chance.  So keep dreaming otherwise. 



Since: May 22, 2011
Posted on: August 9, 2011 7:33 pm
 

Hot streak could have Matsui on the move

What makes this author think Matsui wants out of Oakland!! Typical...I don't believe he wants out. He is having a pretty good year and is hot lately. He may also be having fun on a cool team with good guys!! Not everything in life revolves around the Yankees.I hope Oakland keeps him for another year.



Since: Aug 4, 2011
Posted on: August 9, 2011 6:07 pm
 

Hot streak could have Matsui on the move

thome's not on the dl? 


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