An agent’s online appeal for Hideki

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It’s not a stretch to say that no sport has been impacted more by the power of the Internet by baseball. From the rise of cross-country sabermetrics to the proliferation of blogs and smarter analysis than that offered by local papers and sports talk radio to institutions such as MLB.com that have revolutionized online content delivery, baseball has spent the last ten years living through its own golden age of the Internet.

It was, then, only a matter of time before agents started taking their appeals for their players to the digital airwaves. Scott Boras’ player profile binders may be legendary amongst baseball executives and fans, but the truly savvy agents will tap into the Internet to generate populist pressure in support of their clients. By utilizing this still-developing medium, agents can change the tenor of the conversation over free agents.

Yesterday, we saw how Johnny Damon and Scott Boras are not quite on the same page regarding Damon’s free agency. The Yanks’ left fielder wants to stay in the Bronx while Boras wants him to get market value and a longer deal than the one Brian Cashman will offer. In all senses, the Damon/Boras conflict is a fairly traditional player/agent fight, and the Damon negotiations are going to be fairly routine.

But Arn Tellem, Hideki Matsui‘s agent, seems willing to push the boundaries of this Internet Age. In what I can only assume is a first for an agent, Tellem has taken his defense of Matsui online. He published an article on the Huffington Post explaining why Hideki Matsui is a sound investment. With one bit of hyperbole and otherwise astute observations, Tellem’s piece is an excellent primer in making your case.

First, the hyperbole: Tellem calls Matsui “an ageless talent.” At age 35 and with creaky knees, Matsui certainly is showing his age, but he can still hit. If that’s Tellem’s worst exaggeration, it’s an understandable one.

In discussing Matsui, Tellem engages in some fanciful writing too. “By embracing Matsui,” he says, “New Yorkers have once again shown that though ball clubs are named for cities and states, they transcend geography. Teams may not be where we find our heroes today, but, as Matsui has demonstrated, it’s where we find heroic situations we can all dream of, argue about or simply watch together in amazement. That’s the game’s unifying force.” Hey, I buy it.

It gets better though:

As his agent, I take a different view. The ageless Matsui has shown not just that he can still hit, but that he can hit with consistency and aplomb. During the regular season, he ranked second among DHs in homers, and third in slugging percentage, on-base percentage and walks. No left-handed hitter homered more off southpaws. Matsui combines the late-inning heroics of Yankees great Tommy (Old Reliable) Henrich and the superb professionalism of Paul O’Neill. He’s a complete player who always has taken pride in contributing to all facets of the game.

Matsui’s immense popularity in Japan gives the Yanks strong financial incentive to re-sign him. He helps bring in millions of dollars annually in marketing and sponsorship revenue. In the seven years since he joined the Bronx Bombers, Matsui has played a pivotal role in establishing the Yankees as a global brand. Six major Japanese companies — including Toyota, Sony and the Daily Yomiuri newspaper — have signed on as advertisers, each reportedly adding $1 million or so a year to team coffers. Most of these firms have placed their billboards in right field, often the final resting ground of Godzilla’s monstrous clouts, to target the audience of NHK, the Japanese radio and television network. Currently, NHK airs 120 Yankee games a season.

It’s not a stretch to say Matsui is as responsible for Japanese interest in the Yankees as Yao Ming is for the NBA in China. Matsui has yet another virtue that goes beyond mere statistics. In an age when athletes mock our reverence daily, he’s exemplary in every aspect of his life. In January of 2003, his very first request upon landing in New York was to be taken to the Twin Towers memorial to pay his respects. He did this without publicity or fanfare. He did it because, he said, it was “the right thing to do.” After the tsunami hit Indonesia at the end of 2005, Matsui, out his own sense of decency, donated $500,000 to UNICEF. He’s one of those rare superstars who recognize the unique role his astonishing talent has given him and the good he can do for others.

That’s a brilliant first shot by Matsui’s agent. He makes his statistical argument, his economic argument, and his all-around good-guy argument in 350 words.

Right now, we don’t know what the immediate future holds for Matsui. Talks with the Yanks are on hold until the organization has a chance to meet, and although rumors about the Red Sox’s interest surfaced yesterday, it’s hard to believe that Theo Epstein would do anything but drive up Matsui’s price. Reportedly, the Sox would eye Matsui as a regular left fielder, but it’s hardly a secret that Matsui’s knees can’t take the pounding.

And so we wait with the words of Arn Tellem out there for anyone to see. Matsui, he says, “loves New York,” and the Yanks will have “‘a special place’ in his heart.” How ever does a GM respond to such a blatantly public and emotional appeal for support just one week after the free agent-to-be took home World Series MVP honors?

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Who should the Yankees protect from the Rule 5 Draft?
What Went Right: The Bullpen Makeover
  • pat

    This is honestly a great piece but what does Tellem expect it to accomplish? Fans sending letters to Cashman pleading for Hideki? Does he expect Cash to bow to the will of the unwashed masses, listening to wfan one would shudder at the thought of some Yankee fans playing an important role in decision making. Cashman has shown in the past that he will make the prudent move not the popular one, not trading for Johan is a good example. It’s nice and definitely a new way to spread the word about your client, but besides an upswell in fan appreciation I don’t know how much of an effect it would have.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      +1

      I’d imagine Cash would respond like this…

      “Wow, that was great, Arn. Thanks for that. There’s no doubt that your client is a good hitter and a great citizen of the world but…”

      …followed by the Yankees’ case.

    • MattG

      Regardless of what it accomplishes, its baffling to think an agent wouldn’t publicize his client with 350 words. A good agent will manage his client’s interests in every respect. That means not only negotiating his contracts, but managing his image. You can’t tell me athletes/entertainers have not suffered from image issues, and if that’s true, so is it’s opposite.

  • r.w.g.

    Name dropping Tommy Henrich? Oh snap.

  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    What doesn’t make sense is why you’d publish this on the Huffington Post. I mean, I understand the sex appeal of being associated with Mike “do you know who i am?” Lupica, but I mean COME ON!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EcC3mj3oYw (SFW)

  • ROBTEN

    “In January of 2003, his very first request upon landing in New York was to be taken to the Twin Towers memorial to pay his respects. He did this without publicity or fanfare. He did it because, he said, it was ‘the right thing to do.'”

    Ah, the entertaining irony of the sports agent.

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    Unfortunately, this point didn’t fit in too well with the rest of the piece, but can I just address the idiocy of the rumors that have the Red Sox interested in Matsui as their everyday left fielder? They just came off a season with some terrible defense and would entrust defending the Monster to some guy who hasn’t played the outfield since June 15, 2008? Yeah, right.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      June 15, 2008

      What a bittersweet day: my 21st birthday and Wang’s foot injury all in one day.

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      so…since you pulled the “off topic but i just wanted to say…”, does this mean we all get a mulligan for 1 off topic comment going forward?

      shall i create a google doc to keep track of who has used theirs?

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        To be fair to myself, I did mention the Red Sox rumor in the second-to-last paragraph. I just couldn’t quite dismiss it as properly as it deserved.

    • ROBTEN

      Plus, Ortiz is signed through 2010, with an option for 2011.

      Thus the only possibility would be to play Matsui in left, and expect him to last two weeks before his knees gave out or platoon him with Ortiz at DH, which would mean that they wouldn’t give Matsui anywhere near the money that he’d get from the Yankees.

      It’s a bluff that shouldn’t really concern anyone except ledge-hoppers.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        How do you platoon him w/ Ortiz? They’re both left-handed hitters.

        • ROBTEN

          My point was that there was really no room for Matsui on the Red Sox, but I was referencing his ability to hit LHP.

          Against LHP the last two years:

          Ortiz:

          2008: .221/.308/.433/.741
          2009: .212/.298/.418/.716

          Matsui:

          2008: .315/.362/.389/.751
          2009: .282/.358/.618/.976

          Matsui can hit left-handed pitching (sOPS+116 and sOPS+175 compared to league splits the past two years) and Ortiz can’t.

          Of course no manager would do this because it goes against conventional wisdom to bring in a lefty to hit against lefties.

          Plus, no GM would sign Matsui to only hit against lefties, which would be a waste of resources.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that that rumor is the result of a joke being played on the press by Cashman and Epstein – they’re probably laughing about the fact that the press would actually report that rumor as if it has any grounding in reality. It’s absolutely ludicrous.

      Obviously I wouldn’t put it by either of them to be playing a game in the press to drive up prices for his counterpart, but you have to give Epstein more respect than to give this rumor even a second-thought. I dare say that nobody in a GM position is actually dumb enough, and there are some dumb GMs, to think that anyone in the Yankees F.O. would ever take this rumor seriously. And Epstein, in particular, is certainly not that dumb.

      Whoever reported that rumor made a professional mockery of themselves.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Task. THCM has just taken someone to it.

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Know fear, MSM. We lurk.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            What meta-criticism lurks in the hearts of baseball columnists? The Congressman knows!

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              Dammit. I fucked this up. It should read:

              “What meta-criticism lurks in the hearts of baseball message board commenters? The Congressman knows!

              OR

              “What evil lurks in the hearts of baseball columnists? The Congressman knows!

              Sonofabitch.

              • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Don’t beat yourself up, the Congressman knew what you were getting at.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        I dare say that nobody in a GM position is actually dumb enough

        Well, now that JP is no longer a GM, I might have to agree w/ you.

  • MattG

    Here’s the truth: anything you can say about Matsui’s value, as pertains to advertising and merchandising, goes double for the Seattle Mariners. Forget baseball sense–it makes immense business sense for the Mariners to offer Matsui the most.

    I think he is gone, and I do not readily see how the Yankees replace his bat.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Except for the fact that Ichiro and Matsui do not like each other. That pretty much guarantees that the two won’t be on the same team. They also just resigned their DH.

      I also don’t see how you can say that goes double for Seattle. Why? Because of Ichiro or because it’s closer to Japan and owned by a Japanese company?

      • MattG

        I did not know they did not like each other.

        It goes double because:

        For advertising, right now Japanese advertisers have a choice, and this choice creates a buyers market. Put both the big chits in the same market, and Seattle monopolizes the Japanese marketing dollar.

        For merchandising, the Matsui jersey isn’t changing if he stays in New York. That cavern is as mined as it can be. A Mariner Matsui jersey would be a new commodity, in addition to what I thought would be lucrative campaigns featuring Ichiro and Matsui…but maybe not…

        • A.D.

          For advertising, right now Japanese advertisers have a choice, and this choice creates a buyers market. Put both the big chits in the same market, and Seattle monopolizes the Japanese marketing dollar.

          This really depends on the elasticity of demand, and the current contracts, my guess is demand is fairly elastic, and that Seattle won’t gain pricing pressure.

          The place that would have the most to gain is something like San Francisco, which has a Japanese population & no Japanese player.

          • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            “The place that would have the most to gain is something like San Francisco, which has a Japanese population & no Japanese player.”

            Just something interesting you reminded me of… When I went to a Giants game in 2002, I swear I’m not exaggerating about this, there was almost as much Shinjo merchandise being sold in that stadium as there was Bonds merchandise. It doesn’t make any sense to put Matsui in that outfield, but they would certainly sell a ton of merchandise if they signed him.

          • jsbrendog

            but ishikawa!

      • andrew

        I’ve read this before about Ichiro and Matsui not liking each other on RAB, i was just wondering what the back story was? or if you could link me to something?

      • Johnny

        How is them not liking each other if worth typing as a legitimate reason not to sign Matsui?

        The Yanks never traded for Arod b/c Arod and Jeter hate each other… oh wait…

        I find it ridiculous that a GM would even take that into consideration. If I was an owner and I heard my GM was worried about that, he’d be fired on the spot. These guys get paid insane amount of money to play baseball not to like each other.

        And anyone who says the Yanks won this year b/c of chemistry they’ve drunk the kool-aid served by Buck & McCarver and other brainless idiots that I’ll never understand how they got their jobs.

        They won b/c they pitched and had timely hitting. End of story and end of rant.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Really? First, I don’t think he’s gone. Second, here’s an example of what could happen:

      1. Matsui walks.
      2. Yankees re-sign Damon.
      3a. Damon DHs.
      OR
      3b. Damon plays LF.

      If 3a:
      1. Yankees sign Mike Cameron to play CF.
      2. Yankees move Melky Cabrera to LF

      If 3b:
      1. Yankees keep Gardbrera in CF
      2. Yankees sign someone for DH (Thome? Johnson?)

      • MattG

        In 3a, Cameron replaces Matsui’s bat. That’s not entirely even. Melkner still gets 4 hacks every day.

        In 3b, Nick and Thome are fair replacements for Matsui, I’ll give you that. But I should’ve mentioned, I see Damon DHing in ’10. When I say I don’t readily see a way to replace his bat, I meant with an outfielder.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Cameron’s bat may not be even with Matsui’s, but for a CF, his bat is very good. His defense is also above average in CF. Though he may not hit as well as Mastui, his position and defense (and possibly salary) make him a better value than Matsui. I don’t love Melky getting 4-5 PAs a game, especially from LF, but his defense would be much improved on a corner and that could help the team. The offense wouldn’t be prolific like it was this year, but it would still be good and the OF defense would be much improved.

          • MattG

            In my post above, I had written a paragraph about hoping Cameron would make up for in defense what is lost in offense, but then I deleted it. It obfuscates the point. I’d be happy to have Cameron in centerfield this year. I would not be happy to have Damon, Melky or Gardner in left.

            At least not everyday, which is why I would like Damon to DH 130 times next season, as opposed to Matsui, and I don’t mind to start the season with Melkner. Sometime between now and July, 2010, I expect an opportunity to present itself.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              I would not be happy to have Damon, Melky or Gardner in left.

              Damon for defensive reasons and the other two for offensive reasons?

        • Wilcymoore27

          Let’s hope the Yankees don’t wind up with Mike Cameron so you won’t have to see just how terrible he would be in a Yankees uniform.

          As someone wrote on this board a couple days ago, speaking of Cameron as a Yankee, “that train left the station three years ago.” Thank God.

    • vin

      Is there anything lazier than linking Japanese players to Seattle?

      Of the 117 games Griffey played in, he DH’d 91 times. Seattle just re-signed Griffey. He will be their DH moving forward. No team has the luxury of carrying two capable DHers.

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        While we could debate whether or not Griffey is a capable DH, there’s another good point embedded here. The Mariners can’t carry two players who can only DH. Since neither Matsui nor Griffey are legitimate defenders, Seattle would be going with a short bench and little roster flexibility. It won’t happen.

        • MattG

          Like I said, business-wise it makes sense. Who’s to say Seattle won’t ignore this pesky little baseball issue? I’ve read arguments that it made no baseball sense to bring Griffey in, too.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Yeah, bringing Griffey in was a no good move.

          • andrew

            So if it made no sense to bring Griffey in, then it makes even less sense to bring in Matsui now that they have Griffey. If the Mariners are going to pay for a second DH, fine, but for the sake of Seattle fans, I hope they are wiser than that.

            • A.D.

              First step when trying to get yourself out of a hole:

              Stop digging.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Well, they could let Branyan go and let one of Matsui/Griffey DH and the other could play 1B.

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          That would not be a pretty sight.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            But it would be fucking hilarious to watch.

        • A.D.

          Yikes…bad enough they signed Griffey, might as well hold it there and not make things worse.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            If only it was the Royals in question, then we know things would get worse.

            • A.D.

              Yeah then they’d go and trade one of their top pitching prospects for a guy you couldn’t give away.

              …oh wait that already happened.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic)

          Is this a joke?

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Essentially, yes. If any organization did that, I’d have to assume they all got lobotomies.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        +1

      • A.D.

        One could debate Griffey being “capable” but given they decided to re-sign him, they did pretty much take themselves out of the ‘Sui argument.

        And I agree, completely lazy to say Japanese player = Seattle. If anything Seattle has the least to gain, with Ichiro they already have a ton of penetration in the Japanese market, if anything a city with a Japanese population & currently no access to the Japanese market would have the most to gain off the field from signing Matsui, since they would be opening up the doors to said market.

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Very good point. While I know he doesn’t seem to be a very feasible option for them, I’m sure the Mets would love to get their hands on those advertising dollars. I know you really meant small markets, just a thought.

        • MattG

          I’m not sure if I’m being called lazy or not here.

          Whatever TV stations are broadcasting Yankee & Mariner games over there need to be competitive. Take the Yankees out of it, and the Mariner’s station has a captive audience. That alone might allow the Mariners to recoup Matsui’s salary.

          Most stereotypes exist for a reason.

          • A.D.

            Well there’s still the Sox with Dice-K, Okajami & Tazawa (depending on where he is) (though I don’t know what type of TV deal they have).

            It could help the Mariners, but the issue is, is there this huge split in money. Take the Mets & Yankees for instance, if the Mets leave NYC do the Yankees make significantly more money? They already have high attendance & the highest regional sports raiting, so would the really be able to extract a ton more revenue from being the only team in NYC?

            Same can be said for Japan, there’s 2 MLB teams with regular showing of games, for 127 Million people. If it goes down to 1 team do they really capture a ton more audience & are able to actually monetize that?

            • MattG

              You know, I think the Yankees would stand to make more money if the Mets moved to Puerto Rico. The baseball-watching market is one of only a few reliable ways to reach the beer-drinking, pick-up driving population in YES’s service area.

              I’m looking at it from another angle. The Yankees may not pickup the Mets’ viewers, but what will? They’re all gonna spread out, to tennis, nascar, golf and the like…and a fair piece will just do stuff that actually doesn’t involve TV (imagine!). So, if you have a marketing budget and you need to reach a specific demographic, you’re going to have to call YES and find out what can be done.

              For it to really change things, the Yankees would have to get the Met fan’s eyeballs, because they can’t push the price so far that it results in negative ROI, but the monopoly on the demographic will count for some additional revenue. It has to.

          • vin

            “I’m not sure if I’m being called lazy or not here.”

            Like me, you’re just a fan, so I’m not calling you lazy. I’m calling the Tim McCarvers of the world lazy. The writers and broadcasters have the loudest voices, and they all seem to be spewing Matsui to Seattle. Their only logic for the deal is they have Ichiro and Seattle could use more offense.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Free agent X is available: The Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets are all interested.
              Free agent X is available and is Japanese: The Mariners are interested.

              Sincerely,
              The Mainstream Media

              That’s the type of intellectual laziness that vin is talking about. (To be fair, I’ve been guilty of it myself. I was trying to pawn Matsui off on Seattle last year. This was pre-Griffey, though.)

    • JeffG

      I think a lot of Matsui’s marketing is also based on the Yankee brand and he plays for the “best team.” Also, kids in Japan think NY is cool. I don’t think outside of the diehard Ichiro fans many kids wear a Seattle hat… nor would they if Matsui joined their ranks.

  • Reggie C.

    Isn’t Vladimir Guerrero a free agent?

    If the LAA decide to save a couple bucks and let Guerrero walk, they could be players for Matsui. Guerrero looks worse than Matsui running around those base paths. He’s probably 40 years old. LAA would lose no offense and probably save a couple million by going the Mats route.

    • whozat

      but wouldn’t they be better served by getting a better defensive corner OFer, allowing them to get Abreu or Rivera out of the field more often?

    • vin

      This might be the only other logical destination for Matsui.

      But for him to leave NY for Anaheim, the Angels are going to have to significantly beat the Yanks’ offer. The only way that happens is if Cashman has something pretty big up his sleeve.

      The Angels are already paying Gary Matthews Jr. 11 million bucks to ride the pine (12 mill in ’11).

      • Bo

        They should def be in the Matsui hunt if Vlad prices himself out of their market.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Hideki Matsui has done all of those things… but he has not yet gone to college.

    http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk...../essay.htm

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      an outlaw in Peru.

      I don’t know why, but that’s my favorite part.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        “Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.”

  • toad

    Matsui may not be ageless, but DH’s do not in fact decline much. Unless there is reason to believe his knees will get worse we can expect Matsui to perform as well in 2010 as in 2009. Why not leave well enough alone at DH?

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      +55

    • MattG

      Because you need to get Damon out of left field now. Damon is Matsui with the ability to play OF in a pinch. Greater roster flexibility.

      • jsbrendog

        no damon is not. damon is coming off an almost career year offensively and matsui is coming off a year where he met mostly his career norms.

        give me matsui over damon as dh every day of the week

        • r.w.g.

          Got to agree here. Damon is pretty much a DH anyway. The only reason he’s out there in the OF is because he can stay healthy doing it. He is flat out terrible out there.

          • jsbrendog

            i would take the known offense of matsui’s career avgs maybe a little less than over roster flexibility with damon being the dh and the unknown of whether he will replicate his last season. american league teams are built to have a fulltime dh. having matsui does not hinder roster flexibility in anyway.

        • Tubby

          Agreed. Plus, we already know that Matsui can still produce even when he’s limited physically. I like Johnny, but I just get the feeling that his decline is going to be rapid. Boras likes to sell him as a guy who’s never hurt, but he always seems to be battling some type of nagging/lingering injury. And, whenever he goes through those periods, his offensive production disappears for weeks at a time.

          • Bo

            This whole theory that they need the DH spot to give to older guys to rest them is kind of funny.

            Do you really see them rotating Jeter and A-Rod at DH? Like Jeter would let that happen more than once every 20 days. You are still going to need 100+ games and 400+ at bats from that spot. And you need to protect A-Rod there. It is a big advantage they cant squander because they want to rest Jeter once a month.

            They need someone with power. Someone who won’t mind a 1 yr deal. Might be Matsui. But it wont be Eric Hinske. And that spot cant be left open.

            • Tubby

              I agree. The DH is a legitimate position in the AL and should be filled by a productive, full-time DH. Matsui is my first choice.

            • Wilcymoore27

              Hear, hear! … Bo and jsbrendandog are right. AL teams are built to have a full-time professional DH.

              This whole notion of “keeping the DH spot open” to rest A-Rod/Jeter/Posada is more than a little nuts. Alex, Jeter, and Posada have special value because they’re well above-average hitters for their positions. Putting them at DH so that Hairston / Ramiro Pena / Frankie Cervelli or “fill-in-the-blank” can play the field only weakens the team.

              And who’s going to be at DH in the games that really matter? Because in the post-season you know A-Rod, Jeter, and Posada are going to be penciled in at their fielding positions. As an all-round hitter, Matsui is probably ahead of both Jeter and Posada anyway.

              Matsui fills the bill at DH, and for a couple of years at least. Bring him back. The fact that he’s a class guy on and off the field is just an added bonus.

        • MattG

          Ehhhh, I’m going to disagree. Guys don’t really have career years when they are 36. If they do, its because they have established a new baseline of ability. Career years happen in the mid-20s. I think Damon’s gains are repeatable.

          That’s not to say he will repeat what he did. He may have been exceedingly healthy this year, never to have that happen again.

          On the flip side, you have Matsui, who’s game has declined appreciably in every way except the bat. People will tell you the more athleticism you start with, the longer it takes to lose it. That certainly makes sense. Damon has always had more athleticism than Matsui, making him a better bet to age gracefully.

          Another indicator of decline, and specifically hitting decline, is contact rate. Both Damon and Matsui have seen very little erosion, so it can be predicted both will continue to hit, at least for next year.

  • Bo

    You guys do realize that this is an agents job right????

    This is why he gets 4%. This is why Boras is great and so is Tellem.

    • whozat

      Yes, we do. The point is that Tellem is branching out into a new medium, reaching the fanbase directly by writing for that website as opposed to issuing press releases and talking to reporters.

      It’s interesting to some of us. I’m sorry that Ben wasted your time by driving to your workplace and forcing you to read this and post a comment. He really shouldn’t have done that.

  • larryf

    Questions simply out of curiosity. Does Matsui wear a brace on his knee? Does he slide at all? I say we keep him regardless of the answers…

  • JeffG

    I do think Arn made a good point: Matsui does open up the market for NYY baseball. If Matsui were let go there may be a pretty signigicant revenue stream that is cut off.
    When you think about it, what other player on the market really helps pay for themselves like that?
    Also, for Matsui’s sake I think he has to play for NY for the presteige factor. I would guess he may lose some sponsorships if not re-signed.
    Ultimately, I still think it is a good fit for both parties. One more year as DH is my vote.

  • cor shep

    Everyone says if Matsui leaves, sign Damon for Dh, Cameron for CF and Melky goes to LF

    But wouldn’t a stronger outfield be with Swish in LF and Melk in RF, and not the opposite..

    • jsbrendog

      semantics. i’m sure they will address that if/when they get cammy on the roster. I thought that too but lf at yankee stadium isn’t easy and melky might be better at it…i don’t honestly know

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      A) Swish plays right, it’s where he’s played most of his career, he probably has a better comfort level there.
      B) LF is actually bigger than RF, so if there’s a player who covers more ground (like Melky), he probably belongs there.

      No need to flip them.

  • RichYF

    I remember a few years back when the Sox signed Matsuzaka there being a few articles about merchandise and advertising in MLB. The argument goes, if I remember correctly, that teams share advertising contracts so the “$50 million a year” Dice-K was going to bring in for the Sox didn’t really go to them, but to all of MLB.

    I don’t have a link, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but does anyone have anything concrete on this?

    Also, in terms of Damon vs. Matsui, this is purely conjecture but it seems like Matsui is the guy more likely to “earn” a contract rather than “deserve” one. This seems to be more the (stereotypical) Japanese way, but I do not want to sound like a bigot. My only sticking point is that Matsui seems more honored to be playing for the Yankees than Damon (based on past experience). Damon said he would never play for the Yanks, now he can’t wait to come back, etc. Matsui seems humble and very motivated to play. When he broke his wrist, I remember reading that he apologized to the Yankees.

    He just seems, to me, like someone that would not object to a 1-year deal with team options rather than the sure-fire 2-3 year deal to play elsewhere (like Boras wants for Damon). Just my gut.

  • Kered Retej

    I feel bad that Matsui really isn’t a good fit for the team next year. He just seems like such a solid guy. I think he is a little like Mariano in that if you polled all of baseball, you would be pretty hard-pressed to find someone say anything negative about him. You may not like him because he plays for the Yankees, but you have to give the man respect.