Dec
08

In defense of Hideki Matsui

By

With the Matsui trade talks swirling earlier this week, I was planning on writing up a defense of the Yankees’ DH and sometimes-left fielder. But Mike Plugh beat me to it. So check out Canyon of Heroes’ rational for keeping Matsui. Despite his numbers in the clutch in 2007, Hideki is one Yankee the team shouldn’t trade.

And a quick point that Plugh didn’t touch upon: If Matsui goes, Jason Giambi would become the full-time DH. Can we really expect Jason Giambi to do anything this year anyway? I don’t relying on Giambi is really the way to go.

Categories : Asides
  • stuart

    his arguement seems pretty coherent to me.. i especially like the part of getting rid of Moose and saving about $9 mill or so!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    6 starters for opening ay to me makes no sense…and if someone gets hurt the next starter should be a call up…

  • Adrian-Retire21

    Trade Matsui.I like him but young good pitching is something you can’t buy.Do you need a person to hit .300,20 HR,100 Rbi’s.You can get that with Abreu,Damon,ans Giambi if healthy.

    And we don’t know if Matsui can be heathly also.I mean Giambi not gonna hurt as a DH (even though David Ortiz finds a way) but we don’t need anymore over 30 outfielders lets give some of these guys for young hard throwers.One of them is bound to be great.

  • brxbmrs

    The DH slot on the Yanks is loaded with Giambi (who may be done, but if he’s not…), Bet, Duncan, Jorge, Damon and Abreu.

    Yanks would be better served by carrying a Brett Gardner who can hopefully improve of defense when keeping the of fresh or filling in for the inevitable Damon injury, steal some bases and not cost the Yanks 26 mil over 2 years.

    No guarantee Matsui stays healthy in 08 and beyond – dump him and move on.

    His situational stats last year weren’t any better than Melky’s – don’t need Groundzilla anymore.

    Hard to believe the Giants would think he can play the of and stay healthy – but thats there problem/

  • Whitey14

    Matsui is a classic example of why Japanese power hitters are overrated. They make fine hitters, don’t get me wrong, but their power numbers are almost gauranteed to drop off. The teams battling for Fukodome should be cautious. He may be a real good major league hitter when he gets here, but I doubt it will satisfy their need for more power, which is presumable why they’re chasing him.

  • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

    I happened to know from direct contact with MLB front offices that no one is operating under the assumption that Fukudome is a power hitter. I’ve made that abundantly clear at BP, Canyon of Heroes, and in private consultations with clubs. Fukudome is more Abreu than Vlad Guerrero. His value is entirely predicated on an OBP which sat between 400 and 420 in Japan, and by translation shouldn’t dip below 380 in the Majors. His home runs in Japan weren’t ever the value of his game. He challenged the single-season doubles record every year he played and will retain most of that value in the Majors as a line drive, gap hitter with a little speed. His arm in right field is as good as there is, so no one will run on him.

    Matsui, as a Japanese power hitter, WAS overrated when no one knew how that would translate. Now that we have a larger sample of Japanese position players to go by, we understand that aspect of the translation and can more accurately predict how a player will perform. The value of Fukudome and Norichika Aoki, among others are more closely associated with the excellent translation that Ichiro has made to the Majors than the more humble Matsui translation.

    That said, it makes me laugh to think that people don’t see the value in Matsui as a DH and part time outfielder. Let’s look at Paul O’Neill’s 1996 season as a Yankee, when he was 33, and compare it to Matsui’s 2007 at 33:

    O’Neill .302/.411/.474 and 123 OPS+
    Matsui .285/.367/.488 and 123 OPS+

    Hmmmm….seems like the value of these players is equal. I know that more advanced metrics might show O’Neill at a slightly higher value than Matsui, but it’s still very very close. Let’s look at what O’Neill did in the following few seasons and ask ourselves if Matsui is capable of the same, shall we?

    1997 .324/.399/.514 and 137 OPS+
    1998 .317/.372/.510 and 130 OPS+
    1999 .285/.353/.459 and 107 OPS+
    2000 .283/.336/.424 and 92 OPS+
    2001 .267/.330/.459 and 104 OPS+

    During that run, O’Neill was hitting about 35-40 doubles and 20 homers a season to go with about 110 RBI and 70-90 runs scored. The 1997 O’Neill would be an absolute ceiling for Matsui, but I would argue that the remainder of those seasons would be very good projections for his output.

    Finally, his reputation as “Groundzilla” is an absolute myth. He had 9 GIDPs all of last season. He had 16 in 629 plate appearances in 2005 and only 11 in 584 the previous year. Posada regularly grounds into 25 double plays a season and the aforementioned O’Neill did the same. It’s easy to stick a label on a guy and denegrate him for it. When that label doesn’t hold up to statistical scrutiny it’s hard for people to eat crow. Instead they go on repeating the myth until everyone else believes it as well.

    • Samples

      The correct name should be “WeakDribbler2SecondZilla”. I don’t know how / where to check the stats, but from my own observations I’d bet money that nobody hits a higher percentage of weak grounders to second base than Matsui. Nobody…

    • Whitey14

      Those are excellent numbers to back your argument Mike. Thanks for broadening my horizon with relation to his value.

    • steve (different one)

      except Paul O’Neill was an EXCELLENT defensive OFer. one of the most underrated aspects of his game.

      Matsui has zero defensive value.

      big difference.

      O’Neill was also a better base-runner.

      Paul O’Neill was a MUCH better player than Matsui.

      • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

        Paul O’Neill was a much better baseball player than Matsui? I’d go so far as to say he was better than Matsui, but the numbers don’t really jive with “much” better. He’s 4-5 points on the EQA higher than Matsui and worth about 2-3 runs more than Matsui per season based on WARP3, mainly as a result of his defense. It’s not as far fetched as you might think.

        • steve (different one)

          Matsui’s WARP3, best to worst (age 29-33):
          8.1
          7.4
          5.8
          4.6
          3.0

          O’Neill WARP3, best to worst (age 29-33):
          11.7
          9.0
          6.6
          6.4
          6.3

          ignoring Matsui’s injured 2006 season, O’Neill averaged a full 1.5 wins more per season over the same ages.

          like i said, he was a much better player.

          • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

            I think that’s what I said. O’Neill was worth 2-3 wins more than Matsui on more than one occasion, mainly due to his defense, but I think that puts them in the same ballpark more or less.

            • steve (different one)

              no, you said 2-3 “Runs”. which is massively different from 2-3 “WINS”.

              if you think 2-3 wins is in the “same ballpark”, i don’t know what to tell you. it’s not.

              • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

                As I said, I was typing this while doing research for grad work. What I meant was 2-3 wins, which is in the same ballpark when examining all the factors that go into it. Mainly, your argument about defense is right and accounts for the most significant portion of those extra wins. The problem is, as I try to bring it back into the context of this discussion, you aren’t going to replace the quality of Matsui’s bat AND get a better defender for the position for the money he makes. His bat is still quite important to our offense and while we might be able to get some value back for him via trade, it will also create a vacuum that we aren’t prepared to fill in the present without significantly increasing the payroll. Just a thought.

                • steve (different one)

                  yeah, i don’t really want to trade Matsui just to trade him. that wasn’t my point.

                  my point was really more about how underrated Paul O’Neill is, mainly b/c he was a much better defender than people give him credit for.

                  i’m not anti-Matsui so much as i am pro-O’Neill.

                  thatsalliwassayin.

    • barry

      Paul was a leader, you can’t put that in numbers.

      • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

        And he radiated the glow of Perseus when the game was on the line. Apollo rode his golden chariot over the Bronx and willed the Yankees to win when he raised his uru hammer to the heavens.

  • Jeff

    Wow… until Matsui hurt his wrist trying to make that diving play he didn’t miss a game for something like 10 years… he was a little hampered by injuries last year but not too much worse than Jeter. He still got 100 RBIs and I guarantee he hits more than 20 HRs next year. If I were to bet it would be a lot closer to 30 than 20. That coupled with really good baseball sense (i.e. running the bases, moving runners over…) doesn’t put him as a easy player to remove from your lineup.
    Is there any chance he could be fine after getting his knww cleaned out? I think it is a poor conclusion to want to go prospect over a proven major league player. But the prospect theme does seem to way heavey in Yankee land after the emergence of some very fine players. I just caution not get too greedy because not every minor league player is going to become a star.

    Whitey: What other Japanese powere hitters are you talking about? The few hitters in the Majors were not major power guys in Japan (outside Matsui – no one has hit over 50 in Japan). If you are talking about Akinori Iwamura think twice before you compare him with Matsui. Not in the same league.

  • Rob

    Good stuff, Mike. And conveniently, Matsui is only signed for two more years. Problem is, he’s the most tradeable asset without dipping into the pitching too much. Yanks need bullpen help, if Godzilla can bring it, I can’t see why they shouldn’t sacrifice some offense.

  • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

    I think Matsui’s 6ish WARP will be more valuable than any reliever he can bring back. Giambi is a mess and if he’s out any length of time, plus no Matsui….where is the rest of the power going to come from?

    I feel comfortable opening the season with the bullpen:

    Ohlendorf
    Karstens
    Edwar
    Bruney
    Britton
    Farnsworth
    Rivera

    with Marquez and company in the wings. The trick will be to add one proven veteran to this mix to work the 7th or 8th, depending on Farnsy. Cashman has proved to be creative with his trades, and I don’t think giving up a key cog in our lineup is necessary.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    You don’t trade a starting outfielder/DH for bullpen help unless you can get back a bona fide, top-notch reliever. The Yanks have internal options no worse than anything they would get in a trade for Matsui.

    I also question this logic of .300/25/100 guys being so replaceable. Nine AL hitters had 25 HR or more and 100 RBIs or more and only 15 players in the AL put up an OPS better than Matsui’s. None of them are free agents. How exactly are you going to replace this offensive production then?

    • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

      Thank you.

    • brxbmrs

      Ben,

      For a guy who is so statistically analytical you quote gross stats way too much. Matsui hit in probably the richest spot in mlb – and 10 of those 25 HR’s were in June when everyone on the Yanks was beating the hell out of bad pitching – 6 against TB and 4 in interleague.

      Matsui is tied for 40th in mlb in grounders – so the groundzilla comment is made with alot of merit especially if you watch the prolonged streaks where he pulls everything to the right side – and not surprisingly when he’s facing good pitching.

      The writing is more than on the wall – he’s getting older and breaking down – its one thing to overvalue young pitching, but quite another to overvalue a defensive zero making 26 mil coming off knee surgery and with a repaired wrist.

      Or look at it another way – as great as you think Sui might be, he had 30 more RBI’s on a guy you can’t stand – Melky – except Melky was in the bottom of the order and GROUNDZILLA hit 3-6th all year.

      He probably had the most RBI opportunities in MLB – Cano in that spot likely drives in 130+.

      Lets trade Sui for whatever we can get, use that opening to bring in Gardner who can provide better defense (late inning as well as spot starts and injury replacement) for our young pitchers and non-k guys – which encompasses the whole rotation.

      Its still unfathomable how you rotisserie (sp) fans totally ignore the importance of defense.

      Matsui is a spare part – a fragile, zero d spare part – he should be the guy to go.

  • yankz

    Why is nobody considering how much money Matsui makes the team?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Because losing Hideki Matsui will not suddenly send the Yankees on a tailspin toward bankruptcy.

      • yankz

        But his contract more than pays for itself, which very well might not be true for whoever you get to replace that offense.

        • steve (different one)

          no, it doesn’t. this is a myth.

          the yankees earn between $3-6M in additional Japanes revenue.

          • yankz

            If you believe Boras, it’s 21 million.

            If you believe THT, it’s 11 million (http://tinyurl.com/yh9au5).

            So it doesn’t completely pay for itself, but still way more than your non-sourced claim.

            • steve (different one)

              my claim is not non-sourced.

              the article has since been archived, but this was the source:

              http://www.bostonherald.com/sp.....id=1045741

              • steve (different one)

                the point of that article was that Boras is full of crap and all of the additional revenue he promised the Red Sox has not materialized.

                the Sox so far have only made an additional $900K.

                in the article, they cited the $3-6M number i quoted.

                • yankz

                  I’m not going to debate this any further, but THT actually takes the Yankees into account, and their revenue for the years Matsui has been on the team. Whether or not Boston has been able to capitalize on the new markets is irrelevant.

                  • steve (different one)

                    yes, i understand that. i am saying that in this article i linked to, which talks about Japanese revenue and the Red Sox, they say that Matsui generates $3-6M extra revenue for the Yankees. that’s all i was saying, i’m sorry i muddied the waters.

  • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G

    Im just baffled that Ben, Mike, and others have to even make detailed arguments in defense of Hideki Matsui’s value. Where in the hell did all this animosity towards one of the better clutch hitters on this team come from? He suffered one major injury in his entire pro baseball career and drove in 100 RBIs in every healthy ML season yet he’s demed replaceable by some? Even in this “injury-plagued” season he still knocked 25 HRs and 100+ RBIs with 100+ Runs scored.

    As to the point made by Mr. Plugh on the Jeter batting leadoff, how about brining up Abreu to follow Jeter in the #2 hole and have Cano bat 3rd? We all know that’s his place to be anyways and his power has been progressing with 19 HR/ 97 RBIs this past season, he would get those fastballs he loves hitting in front of A-Rod. You could move Cano to #2 and keep Abreu at #3 but I think Robbie has more power potential than Bobby.

  • Rob

    I’m not pushing to get rid of Matsui, but what if:

    Godzilla + Horne + Karstens = Cain + Sanchez?

  • b/c

    love that idea.

    Cano before A Rod seems to be the best fit for him as far as fastballs.

    If he can keep on improving as far as getting on base I could see a .360 out of him in front of A Rod

  • Jeff

    Ben: If it were as simple as money not mattering for the Yanks we’s already have signed Mahay and Viz.

  • Whitey14

    Jeff, my apologies as I was generalizing. It’s a fairly widespread philosophy that the Japanese ballparks are much smaller in their dimensions than the average ML ballparks and the overall talent of the pitching from team to team in Japan just doesn’t seem to be as deep (I know, MLB pitching isn’t very deep either, but it helps prove my point) which is why many washed up, or 4A players, tend to go to Japan to play because they can have more success there. I think it also tends to fluff up the stats of many perceived Japanese power hitters. Your example of Iwamura is right on. Even though in Japan he was perceived as a power threat, here he is thought of more as a line drive gap hitter, with minimal power. Matsui was nicknamed “Godzilla” in Japan because he had what they referred to as prodigious power. A good season for him here is 24-28 bombs. Nothing to sniff at and a talented hitter for sure, but is he what the yankees thought they were getting, or is just an above average hitting OF in a great line-up.

    • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

      Completely and utterly untrue. The park factors for Japan compare favorably with most ballparks in the United States these days. The mythology that Japanese parks are band boxes comes from writing that was done 30 years ago.

      Matsui is far from an average hitter given that an average hitter would post a 100 OPS+ and Matsui is regularly between 125 and 130. He’s 25% to 30% better than the average hitting outfielder.

  • Whitey14

    Jeter is the greatest number 2 hitter in baseball today. If you feel Cano would benefit from hitting in front of A-Rod, why not go Damon-Jeter-Cano-ARod-Abreu-Matsui-Posada-Giambi-Cabrera

    • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

      Because Abreu is a .400 OBP guy in front of A-Rod, and putting him behind your top RBI guy would defeat its own purpose to quote Goodfellas.

      • Whitey14

        So Mike, you didn’t address my theory of pitching depth in Japan, would you like to tear that apart as well? You’re apparently well versed in Japanese baseball so can you tell us all what the average dimensions are for parks in the Japan Central League vs. the American League. Also, you don’t like my line-up, probably a lot of people don’t, but because you’ve got me curious, what would your 1-9 be for the yankees in 2008?

        • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

          Clay Davenport of Baseball Prospectus (where I’m the Japanese baseball correspondent) wrote on January 29, 2002:

          “We’ve all heard about the tiny little Japanese ballparks, and the impact they have on the home-run totals of visiting Americans. That isn’t so true anymore. A wave of stadium building swept through Japan over the last 15 years; all six stadiums in the Pacific League, for instance, have been built or remodeled since 1988, although the Central league still has two parks from the 1920s. The remade stadiums are only slightly smaller than their American counterparts.”

          This is found at:
          http://www.baseballprospectus......cleid=1330

          He goes on to list park factors that back me up, so you can go there for the info if you’re interested. The pitching is very thin. No argument there. The #3-6 pitchers are often AAA, AA, or even A quality compared to the Majors. That much alone inflates the home run totals.

          As for my lineup in 2008, I’d go like this:

          Jeter
          Abreu
          Cano
          Rodriguez
          Posada
          Matsui
          Duncan/Miranda/Giambi/???
          Damon
          Melky

          or some variation on that. What you get there is on base percentages of .390, .410, and .360 in front of A-Rod. Posada is a tough out behind Rodriguez and should be aroun .380 on base to start things off for the rest of the order. He’s a switch hitter so you can’t intentionally walk A-Rod to get a favorable matchup. The main question is what happens after Matsui. Damon is about .350 on base, so it depends on who you have playing 1st. The lack of quality hitting at 1st makes it weird.

          • Count Zero

            I dig this lineup. Make it so! ;-)

      • Rob

        Shouldn’t that be “He’s 25% to 30% better than the average *hitter*”. I didn’t think OPS+ adjusted for position.

        • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

          Yes….that’s correct. VORP corrects for position and he’s regularly somewhere between 35 and 40 in the outfield. That means he’s about 3-4 wins more valuable than the average hitter at his position.

          • yankz

            No, it means he’s 3-4 wins above a replacement player. Replacement level production is usually about 80% of league average.

            • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

              Guh. I’m tired. You’re right again. I’ve been trying to argue this point within a range of acceptable numbers, and write 5 term papers at the same time. Must sleep…..

              • yankz

                Well, that’s what you get for trusting numbers over your eyes. Shame, shame.

                • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

                  Yeah. Those pesky numbers. Good thing bridge builders trust their eyes over numbers.

  • b/c

    No chance Rob.

    Think of Lincecum as Hughes.

    • Rob

      I said Cain and Sanchez for Matsui and Horne. Nothing about Lincecum.

      • b/c

        sorry my bad I’m just getting tired of the crazy packages you hear about

        like Kemp Laroche and Kershaw. It’s crazy

  • b/c

    B/c Damon is a terrible fit at the top and Abreu is great at the top of the Lineup.

    Jeter R
    Abreu S
    Cano L
    ARod R
    Matsui L
    Posada S
    Giambi L
    Melky S
    Damon L

    • yankz

      Abreu is not a switch hitter. And why would you give Melky more AB than Damon?

    • Rob

      I love to see Gardner up top. If given a chance he’d put up a .370 – .380 OBP and steal 40 to 60 bases, at least for a year or two.

  • Nefarious Jackson

    sick of old outfielders breaking down– Matsui is on the downside— thats why I’m SO F*CKING glad we didnt sign hunter, jones or rowand… if you can get something decent for Matsui let him go… I just dont want any more long term sludge on the team, let guys hold the fort till Garnder(as a useful role player), Tabata, AJAX take over in the new stadium with Abe Amonte &Kelvin DeLeon on the way in the next decade… I know those guys are like far away (2011ish) but a 5 year deal for Rowand would saddle us with him through 2012

    Giambi, Mussina, Pavano, etc, thanks for nothing, dont let the door hit you on the ass on the was out next year

    and if Girardi gives Damon & Abreu a call this winter to let them know they are getting paid 10′s of millions of dollars to PLAY BASEBALL maybe they can run some, swim some, stay away from the twinkies, and generally come to camp in shape and look like they give a shit

    • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G

      How is Matsui on the downside when he hit the 2nd most HRs of his ML career in this season? Hell if you look take away that one lost 2006 season, this year he struck out the least amount of times, walked the 2nd most, and got career highs in 3Bs and SBs. Dont forget he grounded out into the least amount of DPs which Mr. Plugh duly noted. Kind of hard to be on the “downside” of your career when you accomplished what he did against his ML career statistics this past season.

      *Whitey14, the point was to get Damon out of the leadoff spot.

      • Whitey14

        Sorry Jamal, I missed that point. Thanks for bringing me back up to speed. I’m not a Damon fan, but I do feel when healthy, and when not gunning for the short porch (is it still a short porch Mike, or am I out of date again, please advise) he can put up an OBP of .350+. I still think, again when healthy, that he’s capable of working the hit and run with Jeter (nobody handles the bat better than he does) and stealing 20 or so bases on his own. I just don’t see another viable lead off for this team…

        • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

          Leadoff is not determined by stolen bases and hit and runs in 2007. Or at least it shouldn’t be. The current thinking on the subject is based on OBP and Damon is at about .350-.360, which is not very good when compared to many of his teammates. He can still steal a few bases, but his value looks a lot more like a bottom of the order hitter than top at this point.

          • Whitey14

            I understand that, but by the logic of removing steals and running in general from the lead off hitter argument is what led to Wade Boggs batting leadoff in the early to mid 80′s. when they made the playoffs in 86 when he batted primarily third, if I recall correctly (I believ Dewey batted lead-off quite a bit htta season, which I never understood) A batter with high OBP normally accompanies it with a nice batting average and therefore can also be a good RBI man if he’s in the 3 or 5 hole. Would you agree?
            Also, Japanese Central League (where Matsui came from) ballparks average 310-391-310 which is inflated by the Tokyo Dome’s 328-400-328. The rest of the leagues (Pacific, Eastern and Western) do seem to be more in line with U.S. parks though.
            One last defense, I didn’t call Matsui an average hitter, I called him above average in a great line-up. Believe me, as a Red Sox fan, I recognize his value and I hate seeing him come up in crucial situations against the Bosox.

            • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

              Agreed on all points. The Boggs thing is interesting because I think what it shows is that being married to OBP over other factors can be myopic. Boggs could never run a lick, so having him on first wasn’t ideal when there were other equally proficient OBP players with legs that could do it as well. Jeter is the perfect leadoff guy for the Yankees in my opinion because he is frequently on first or second and is at least a threat to run. Abreu would also be a good fit, but he has never been comfortable there where Jeter has excelled.

      • Nefarious Jackson

        Jamal, do you actually watch baseball???? Matsui had an unbelievable 2 months this past season, but he missed most of 2006, the beinging of 2007, look at his age and his body which seems to be a… filling out, Do you think he is going to get better or worse from this point on? that is what being on the downside means, as opposed to Robbie cano who is on the upside of his career. Get that Jamal? Upside and downside? No saying he is a bum, but if you can get something good for him you do it. Also, have you bothered to see him play the filed the last couple of years? do you think he is getting better or worse? If it is getting worse he is on the DOWNSIDE

    • TP

      wait.

      one correction.. you are valid when it comes to Tabata and Jackson comin up. Tabata should take over in RF, Jackson in CF, and Melky move to LF by ’09 at the earliest.

      but I’m wondering if you actually know minor leaguers? Gardner is NOT a regular player.

      he has always been projected to be a 4th outfielder. Melky provides much more offense then him. so that should tell you something.

      he’s strictly defense and JUST started coming into his own, with the whole speeding aspect (he used to get thrown out a lot)

      either way — I just thought it was ABSURD that you think he will be a Yankees outfielder for the future. just as a defensive replacement… that’s it. he’s not that good.

  • Jeff

    Whitey – point well taken I wouldn’t argue that Japenese baseball does not match the game we have over here. However, I think the Japanese players might get a lot of attention because its a new thing but as far as over-rating them I’m not sure it is that overblown… until this year look at Ichiro’s contract – I wouldn’t say that has been over-blown.
    I think most of their contracts fall in line with what they can do (obviously there are a couple examples that fall outside this – maybe three pitchers come to mind – two of whom have donned the pinstripes) but for the most part assesment has been decent… unless you are asking someone like Bobby V who I think is a completly full of shit 100% of the time. Didn’t he say Matsui would hit 50 over here?
    In any case though I think Matsui, outside of the year where he hurt himself, has proven a very good return on investment. Especially if you consider the Japanese marketing element.

  • Donnie Baseball deserves to be in the Hall

    Hello stat nerds of the world. I watch games. I know baseball. Matsui has a big time drop off. Some of this may be due to injury. Some is due to age.

    His first year in NY was his best with the glove. I have never seen anybody take more odd routes to a ball than him (even Damon who might be number two all time on that list)

    I like Matsui. I was in Left Field for his first game, I called the salami. I root for the guy. But if there is a way to clear him out and get some young pitching we can possible use, or spin with something else for Bedard, Kazmir, or Santana LETS DO IT!

    IF, and its a big IF, that Matsui will take a trade.

    • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

      Do you watch on a TV with dials and sit on the davenport? Do you rub your feet in epsom salts and yearn for the days when the music wasn’t so loud?

      • Donnie Baseball deserves to be in the Hall

        Actually I watch the games at the stadium or on a pretty high quality television, I highly recommend one if you have the means.

        • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

          I wish I had a tv. I usually sit in my mother’s basement and watch the numbers tally up as the game proceeds. ;)

          • Donnie Baseball deserves to be in the Hall

            I figured you for the type. Sitting in moms basement, with the score card and a blanket.

            You see like that sort of fellow. The Peter Gammons type minus the Hall of Fame thing.

            • steve (different one)

              guess what:

              Donnie Baseball does not deserve to be in the hall.

              • yankz

                Guys, give up. He knows baseball. The rest of us are just clueless.

                • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

                  Baseball? I thought this was the Zork II community for UNIX programmers. I’m outta here.

  • b/c

    b/c melky will be better

    • RollingWave

      That is very very unlikely… at least next year… while i think Melky does have a little more potential than people give him credite for, expectiving him to outprouce arguablly the best non-Manny AL LF in the last 4 year is just unrealistic at best.

  • TP

    To Neferious Jackson:

    wait.

    one correction.. you are valid when it comes to Tabata and Jackson comin up. Tabata should take over in RF, Jackson in CF, and Melky move to LF by ‘09 at the earliest.

    but I’m wondering if you actually know minor leaguers? Gardner is NOT a regular player.

    he has always been projected to be a 4th outfielder. Melky provides much more offense then him. so that should tell you something.

    he’s strictly defense and JUST started coming into his own, with the whole speeding aspect (he used to get thrown out a lot)

    either way — I just thought it was ABSURD that you think he will be a Yankees outfielder for the future. just as a defensive replacement… that’s it. he’s not that good.

    • yankz

      Melky’s minor league OPS = .769
      Gardner’s = .755

      So I’m not sure how much more offense he’s ever going to provide. When you throw in better defense and baserunning, they’re probably about even. I don’t think either will ever be that far above average.

    • Nefarious Jackson

      Um, TP, if you wanna put on reading glasses next time some you read what someone has posted before you go into a rant against then and their supposed ignorance, i said gardner as a useful ROLE PLAYER… yes, thats right, scroll back up and see where I wrote ROLE PLAYER, got it? No star, ROLE PLAYER, so I was saying Breet could be a fourth outfielder, etc, No a fucking star

      TP, do you actually know how to read? just curious

      • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

        Easy Nef. This is a family site. We may agree to disagree, but it’s all love at the RAB. Except when it comes to that dirty rat Tanyon Sturtze. If I ever get my hands on him, he’ll never pitch at the Major League level again! …oh, wait.

    • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

      i disagree. Gardner CAN be an everyday player. imagine Juan Pierre if he actually got on base. i reckon potential for .280/.380/.420 with 60 sb and great defense (if he plays regularly). what’s wrong with that? at worst he’s a great pinch-runner and LIDR.

      if we’re listing our 08 lineups, here’s mine:
      Jeter
      Abreu
      Arod
      Cano
      Posada
      Matsui
      Shelley/Betemit/Giambi/Miranda
      Damon
      Melky

      Arod at 3 bc he’s just the best hitter on the team. it also retains the R/L/R/L thing.

  • Nefarious Jackson

    wanted to make sure Jamal actually got to see this to understand what being on the “downside” means

    Jamal, do you actually watch baseball???? Matsui had an unbelievable 2 months this past season, but he missed most of 2006, the beinging of 2007, look at his age and his body which seems to be a… filling out, Do you think he is going to get better or worse from this point on? that is what being on the downside means, as opposed to Robbie cano who is on the upside of his career. Get that Jamal? Upside and downside? No saying he is a bum, but if you can get something good for him you do it. Also, have you bothered to see him play the filed the last couple of years? do you think he is getting better or worse? If it is getting worse he is on the DOWNSIDE

  • Nefarious Jackson

    Um, TP, if you wanna put on reading glasses next time some you read what someone has posted before you go into a rant against then and their supposed ignorance, i said gardner as a useful ROLE PLAYER… yes, thats right, scroll back up and see where I wrote ROLE PLAYER, got it? No star, ROLE PLAYER, so I was saying Breet could be a fourth outfielder, etc, No a fucking star

    TP, do you actually know how to read? just curious

    • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

      See above.

      “Easy Nef. This is a family site. We may agree to disagree, but it’s all love at the RAB. Except when it comes to that dirty rat Tanyon Sturtze. If I ever get my hands on him, he’ll never pitch at the Major League level again! …oh, wait.”

      That goes double for Felix Heredia!!

  • Nefarious Jackson

    it just gets ridiculous when your making valid points based on facts then come back two hours later and see some nimrod has taken something completely out of context and then talk down to you like an imbecile— it’s bad enough when sox trolls come ’round

    • Whitey14

      Easy Nefarious……I’m a Red Sox fan and although I’ve disagreed with some people between last night and today, I haven’t bad mouthed anybody. I hope you don’t perceive all Red Sox fans as “trolls”. The rivalry should exist on the field because let’s be real, the fans have absolutely nothing do with it. We live vicariously through the players and use term like “we” and “they” when we speak of the teams which really makes us seem quite sad. I come to RAB because many of you, yourself included, have great opinions and knowledge of the yankees and I don’t feel I can intelligently discuss the greatest rivalry in all of sports without being knowlegable about about both teams fans feel. Unlike many Red Sox fans (I’m embarrassed to say this), I’m passionate about baseball first and the Red Sox second. I respect everything the yankees have done throughout history and intelligent fans must rank them as the greatest franchise in all of sports. I respect your players and your GM, not your owner(s) so much though because I think they try to get too involved and it doesn’t help your GM do his job, but i guess it’s their money so they can do what they want. At any rate I just think intellectual fans can co-exist and I still plan on visiting the site and contributing when I can, or when the topic is of interest to me.
      I’m off to enjoy the Patriots game, looks like Rothlisberger just went down in a heep. I guess he can thank his Free Safety for shooting his mouth off ;-)

  • Evel Knievel

    It’s not about Matsui, but whatever, found this about the two guys yanks got this week

    B, Raymond Nunez – (Just turned) 17-year old first baseman, bats and throws right-handed. 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. Apparently he’s a big kid, reportedly has more power than Kelvin De Leon and a smidge less than Montero – somewhere around 75 power on the 20-80 scout’s scale from what I’m told.

    Reportedly he’s a great defensive first baseman and has a really good eye at the plate. He apparently played in a handful of Dominican Instructs games (after I left obviously) and hit a home run, four doubles, and never struck out. The Yankees signed him for “six figures”. I couldn’t get an exact figure.

    RHP, Harold Garce – 22 years old, from the Dominican Republic, 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. I know, 22, right? Get this though, apparently he was hitting 98-99 MPH during his tryout!!!

    He was a low dollar sign but he’s quite projectable. He’s never been coached, he’s very crude mechanically, but he shows a pretty good curveball already, and he was sitting 95 MPH in the couple of Dominican Instructs games he pitched towards the end.

    Imagine how good he could be once Nardi gets a hold of him

  • inman

    nocluious jackson- its so heart warming that you know that our prospects are going to turn out so ridiculously inferior to others expectations. thanks for keeping us in check stick.

    • Evel Knievel

      thank you inman for that completely incoherent addition to this evenings debate- TP slams him for thinking he’s saying that Gardner will be in starting line-up, you slam him for saying … what exactly? That Tatata & Jackson will be in line-up by around 2009, what exactly is outlandish about that? try to round up 5 bucks worth of change in your basement inman to buy a clue

    • Evel Knievel

      these sites used to be very cool and informative and the fellas who run them are great— but WAY TOO many Assholes on them now

      Later InmanASSHOLE

  • TP

    calm down.

    4th outfielder or starting centerfielder, Brett Gardner is not anything special or great. you were just speaking so highly of him. had to be real and just bring you down from the clouds…

    also. I predict Tabata will be traded before he gets his shot at the big leagues.

    Jackson? unless there’s some big trade or signing in the next couple of seasons, he should be the future CF’er in the Bronx. so at least that’s good and promising.

    don’t take my posts too personally. I’m just very opinionated. don’t get upset.

    • Nefarious Jackson

      Jamal, I apologize if my counter arguement to you came off personal, but I didn’t like what I saw from Matsui over the entire season- he went ape shit in July as player of the month but I din’t like what I saw to end the season- that coupled with his age and his injuries the last two years make me thing that for him the best is not to come but behind him— not saying he should go for a bag of baseballs but it is not divorced from the realm of possibility to trade him if it helps the team— I think Matsui is getting to the point where he could be a very good DH, problem is on the yankees we seem to have half a dozen of those already

    • Nefarious Jackson

      TP

      I was insulted by your tone and even in your follow-up where you feel you have to educate me on prospects— I said Brett G could be a good role player(see Chad Curtis & Shane Spenser as good ROLE players on championship teams) I’d like you to pick out in my post where I said that Gardener would be anything more than a role player—WHERE am I speaking so highly of him? You must have me confused with someone else… as older outfielders break down Girardi can use Brett off the bench and as 4th outfielder until the impact guys start to come up— but the “getting my head out of the clouds” shit has to go, it’s both inaccurate & condesending and you Completely misunderstood the point I was trying to make about the player. I try to see as many games as I can in the Hudson Valley League and with the Yanks at trenton so I’d don’t think I’m talking with my head up my ass about these matters and have a very realistic notion of how our farm system stands with other teams….

      and inman, you still lost baby, have no idea what you been smoking tonight- I’m undervaluing our players? your basing that on what? pure delusion man, one delusional cat

  • barry

    Matsui isn’t going to the Giants, thats bottom line. The Giants are desperate but Hideki isn’t. Why do you think Matsui would want to go play with an awful, losing team. You guys just went off the fucking wall for nothing. You should all be ashamed of yourself, just kidding, that was all very entertaining to read, albeit not very informative.

  • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G

    Nefarious Im just going to calmly and simply ask you, how can Matsui be on the downside if he put up career numbers in BBs, HRs, 3Bs, SBs, and least amount of Ks? Is it because of his age that you are so adamant about him being on the downside?

    You started off your post by saying your sick of old breaking down OFs yet you say your not considering Matsui a bum? I dont know how you can put Matsui in the same sentence when he played in a 143 games this year. So he had a bum knee, your acting like he’s Barry Bonds out there in LF. He is not dreadful and he still makes the routine plays.

  • Nefarious Jackson

    Jamal, I apologize if my counter arguement to you came off personal, but I didn’t like what I saw from Matsui over the entire season- he went ape shit in July as player of the month but I din’t like what I saw to end the season- that coupled with his age and his injuries the last two years make me thing that for him the best is not to come but behind him— not saying he should go for a bag of baseballs but it is not divorced from the realm of possibility to trade him if it helps the team— I think Matsui is getting to the point where he could be a very good DH, problem is on the yankees we seem to have half a dozen of those already

  • E-ROC

    I don’t think Matsui is done. But if the Yankees are able to get Lincecum or Cain in a Matsui package, they should do that deal. Matsui probably won’t waive his no-trade clause, but it’s worth a shot for a talent like Cain or Lincecum. I wouldn’t trade Matsui for Lowry or Sanchez. I think his value is worth more than that. At least ask for Brian Wilson. Is he suppose to be their future closer? Th Yankees could probably get Sanchez for Betemit & Sardinha.

  • http://www.canyonofheroes.blogspot.com Mike Plugh

    For the love of God start a new thread. This horse is dead. ;)

  • http://jeteupthemiddle.blogspot.com Jeteupthemiddle

    I don’t think anyone is advocating to trade Matsui just to do it, but the Yankees, as far as position players go, have gotten older with fairly long contracts, and it makes for an inflexible team.

    By moving Matsui (for players who are worth it….not in a complete salary dump), the Yankees will open up some flexibility for themselves not just in 2008, but in 2009 as well.

    There are more than enough players on the roster who can take over in the DH spot. Sure, Giambi will get the primary role, but it is likely he won’t get more than 450 ABs at the spot. The other ABs could be a combination of Shelley Duncan, Johnny Damon, and even Jorge Posada.

    The Yankees have enough offense that they could move some of it to improve the team elsewhere (specifically the bullpen, and possibly the rotation (if what is returned means the Yankees could flip them for Santana).

    As far as the 100 RBI thing, I wish people would stop quoting it. RBIs are a strictly team stat. Matsui spent a huge chunk the season batting either behind Arod, Posada, or right smack in between them. I’m not exactly sure where to go and check this, but it is likely he had more RBI opportunities than anyone else in the majors (or close to the top in the very least).

    So yeah, I’m not opposed in the slightest to moving Matsui depending on what is returned.

  • RollingWave

    On a few things

    1. Matsui: he’s pretty darn good, but if the Giants or someone else really lose their mind and offer Lincecum or something similar then there is at least some good consideration to tade him. but there’s no way you dump him for scrubs.

    2. Gardner: at his best, he would be Juan Pierre 03 / 04 , that’s actually pretty helpful on any team and is more entertaining than walking the opposition pithing to death. but still, it’s unliekly that he can sustain that sort of production for more than a couple of years and any drop off will make him useless other than pinch running / defnesive duties. such players also tend to have a much harder time making transfers to the majors so there’s a very real chance he simply can’t make it.

    • http://myspace.com/lincolnsworld Link

      I agree…Matsui is worth way more than Sanchez and/or Lowry and the Giants aren’t trading Lincecum for him…and Gardner is being way overrated in this post

  • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G

    You guys keep saying we have a ton of guys to replace Matsui at DH. I dont believe that is the case because out of all of them who can give you Matsui’s run production coupled with the fairly high BA? Also he gives you the luxury of not having to carry a fourth OF on the bench since he is very capable of playing LF to spell Damon. Girardi can also give Melky time off (which Mr. T never did and I believe thats a big a reason as any as to why Melky fell off late this season) and put Damon in CF and Matsui in LF. Matsui just gives you more value.

    However if you tell me we can get Sanchez and Angel Villalona from the SF Giants then Im all for it but unless we get blown away by a deal I dont want to move Matsui.

  • Jake T

    Sardinha just got DFA’d

  • Chris

    The eason you trade Matsui is that he is the only olde playe othe than Abeu who has much value. He will be productive in 2008, but if we ae going to depend on 3 23 yea olds then we have to start looking towad 2009-2010. Therefor, Matsui makes sense.

    Pehaps they can package him with Horne/Maquez/Melancon/White o even AJax or Miranda and anothe lower tier mino legue and get licecum back. Maybe they can sell the giants on a package of Matsui and 1 or 2 future and productive players for one of their two stud

  • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G

    What makes you think Matsui cant produce 15-25 HRs and 90-100 RBIs over the next 3 seasons? He’s yet to produce a non 100 RBI season and he obviously still has the power by showing off that 14 HR month.

  • Chris

    He probably can, but trading him is along the line of what the A’s have done so successufully and the Marlins failed to do with Dontrelle. Much better to trade a player a year or two too early that a year or two too late

    Matsui is a good player and one of the more consistant Yanks over the years he has been here, but if the Yankees can get good young talent in return they should do it. I do not see this team as a championship team if even a playoff team next year. The Big Three, even if they live up to their potential, will not be great for a few years. The long term plans – best case scenario – is a dominant team in 2 or 3 years. By then Matsui will undoubtedly be on the decline. His loss will hurt the Yanks this yea, but I dont think it will be a factor in whether or not the make the playoffs. If they can get players back to improve thei future they should do it for the same reasons that everyone doesnt want to acquire Santana

  • http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=56352514 Jamal G

    You really think this is not a playoff team next year? They have the same exact offense returning (granted a year older but still scored 968 runs scored in 2007) and the rotation if healthy at the start of the year will not drag us down to that horrid start where we need A-Rod to be SUPERMAN on steroids just to keep us from drowning. Come on man, even after the horrid start we still finished just 2 games behind the eventual 2007 WS Champion.

  • Jeff

    Did anybody read Brian Hoch’s article on the Yanks’ sight? “…he (Matsui) would also be a huge draw in the China Basin for a club looking to retain attendance…” – Whoever posed that stupid conclusion shoud be ashamed of themselves. Chinese people would not suddenly flock AT&T park to see a Japanese player. Chinese people generaly don’t have any more love for the Japanese than they do Russians. Its funny how in this country there is an ignorant belief by many that all asians are the same.
    Anyways I just thought I’d add that.