Yanks have been in contact with Hideki Matsui


With their DH job now up for the grab, the Yankees have been in contact with Hideki Matsui according to Jon Heyman. Since they reportedly only have about $2M to spend on a bat, it figures that they’d go for players they know to try to maximize value.

Matsui, now 37, had the worst season of his MLB career in 2011, posting a .306 wOBA and 93 wRC+ with a dozen homers for the Athletics. It wasn’t just the ballpark either, his .313 road wOBA was below average as well. Aside from a ridiculously hot 24 game stretch after the All-Star break (.432/.481/.663), Godzilla was pretty awful last year. Given Matsui’s well-documented knee problems, I’d rather have Johnny Damon assuming similar contracts, but that’s just me.

Categories : Asides, Hot Stove League


  1. ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

    I would love nothing more than for Godzilla to come back for one more year in pinstripes before calling it quits. It doesn’t necessarily make sense, but on a sentimental not it would be great since he never really got the respect he deserved for being WS MVP.

  2. Plank says:

    I don’t see anything that makes me prefer Hideki Matsui over Jorge Vasquez.

    Anyway, Pena Pena Pena, Pena Pena.

    I wonder if Giambi is regretting signing the 2 year deal or Thome is regretting signing so early in the offseason.

    • T.O. Chris says:

      Vazquez’s 30+% strikeout rate in AAA is the only reason I would prefer Matsui over him. Matsui even at this point in his career walks more than Jorge did in Scranton and K’s half as many times as Jorge. I don’t think Vazquez makes it more than a week before the holes in his swing are figured out and exploited to the point he has to be sent back down.

      • Plank says:

        I feel like the current plan is to get a crappy DH then make a deadline move. I would prefer that to Matsui or Damon. Even if Vazquez can fake it for a month before the league figures him out, that would be awesome. Maybe he will continue his winter league hitting. Either way, I would rather have him than Zombie Matsui.

        Although, his epic porn collection would be a great addition to the clubhouse. Moneyball 3.0.

    • Favrest says:

      You’ve never seen Jorge Vazquez at the MLB level. How do you know he won’t hit .125?

      • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

        I don’t know that Adam Dunn won’t hit .125

      • Dave203 says:

        What’s Matsui going to hit — 225? I’d take a free player who “may” hit 125 over someone who will likely hit 225 everyday.

        • Needed Pitching says:

          not free, league minimum is 480,000. I wouldn’t think Matsui would command more than maybe 1M guaranteed with some incentives. Really not a big difference there.
          That said, pass on Matsui anyways. Give Vazquez a look, but a better option might be Dickerson in RF and Swish DH vs. RHP, and Jones/rotating DH with Nunez in the field vs. LHP.

          • CJ says:

            The better the dh is, the less pressure will be on Pineda and cashman. Do not underestimate this in NY. If you have JoVa or some other revolving door of nonproductive hitters it will be an obvious and constant reminder if montero’s absence.

            • Needed Pitching says:

              my strong preference is Pena, with Damon a distant second and rotating DH a last resort. I’m just saying the rotating DH might be a better option than Matsui.

      • Plank says:

        I don’t know that. I don’t know Arod or Jeter won’t hit .125 either. I don’t think they will. He hit .262 last year, but whatevr, he’s not a batting average guy. He’s not a walks guy either. He’s a guy who Ks a lot, doesn’t walk and mashes from time to time. He has a lot of holes in his game, but so do all the other guys the Yankees are looking at. I would rather have 30 year old Vasquez at the minimum rather than 37 year old matsui in steep decline.

        Vasquez is just an international male model with a dream trying to make it in the big city.

    • CJ says:

      Here’s one, JoVa is not a major league ball player.

  3. T.O. Chris says:

    No please.

    Damon and Matsui both hit better against lefties than they did righties, so they really don’t provide any benefit Jones doesn’t. Except Jones does what he does better than either of those two at this point. There doesn’t seem to be many good options out there to hit against right handed batters besides Pena, but he’s going to cost more than 2 million dollars.

  4. John Ya Ya says:

    They’d be better off saving the money, and just using the DH slot to rest their aging veterans.

  5. Plank says:

    If the Yankees really have this little to spend on a DH and end up with someone of Matsui’s quality, would you rather have had someone like Pena instead of signing Kuroda? The Kuroda signing was a good one, but it prevents them from having an adequate DH, that’s a lot of offense to give up for a 4th pitcher (or third, whatever, you know what I mean).

    I’d probably still sign Kuroda, but I’m not 100% sure. Maybe I would have signed Oswalt, traded Hughes, and taken the extra few million to get Pena.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Oswalt would have cost around the same. The team could do at DH right now without signing a single player. They don’t need Pena, Matsui, Damon, Reggie Jackson, or Ron Blomberg. We’re talking about whether any of these guys would be a complementary piece on the cheap. This isn’t a huge move.

      • Plank says:

        They could get replacement level DH production or maybe even league average DH production, but if they didn’t sign Kuroda they could get a genuine contributor on offense, not just a non-negative.

      • Monterowasdinero says:

        We could always use Ronnie Blomberg. Against righties, he wasn’t exactly chopped liver.

        Ahh Ronnie, the first Designated Hebrew.

        Quick bat through the zone-Monterian.

    • Craig Maduro says:

      I like the look of the pitching staff, but the Yanks robbed Peter to pay Paul. They need to just bite the bullet for a year and sign Pena.

    • T.O. Chris says:

      I wanted to stay as far away from Oswalt and that back as possible. He’s been dealing with these reoccurring back injuries since 2009 in one form or another. This isn’t a one time thing and will come back in some way again.

      I think our offense with or without a true DH is going to be fine, more than good enough to win in the playoffs with this pitching staff if healthy. Besides we can always find a bat come All-Star break by trade.

      • Plank says:

        I think he’ll spend a fair amount of time on the DL. I also think he will be effective when he’s pitching. With Phelps and Warren champing at the bit to give replacement level performance or perhaps more, I think having an injury risk with upside in the rotation isn’t a bad thing. Especially since he’s reportedly asking for 8MM compared to Kuroda’s 10MM.

    • CJ says:

      Do you seriously believe they have 1-2 million to spend on dh. The august waiver claim on Pena would have cost 2 for august/September. Cliff lee turned down offer if 22m for 2011, and 2012. Seattle turned down offer of montero, banuelos nova for king Felix and 18 per.

      • Plank says:

        I believe they have much, much more than that. I believe if they say they are willing to spend 1-2 MM then they probably are willing to spend 4-5 MM.

        The mid-market Yankees can’t just go out and sign Carlos Pena.

      • Needed Pitching says:

        Except if they signed Lee, they likely would not have signed Soriano or Kuroda. That’s 22M there. Also if they traded for Felix, they likely don’t sign Kuroda (though that would still be an 8M net gain). They are more likely to make a payroll exception for someone of King Felix’s caliber than for a platoon DH. I’m sure they have money they could spend, it’s just a question of whether or not they choose to spend it. They may not consider Pena enough of a difference maker to do that.

  6. Nick says:

    Damon would be better but he wont take the deal.

  7. Joe B. says:

    If the Yankees are looking at former LH mashers, why not see if Colorado would take a prospect for Giambi? He absolutely crushed RPH last year and would slot nicely into a platoon with Andruw Jones for $1M.

    Or am I missing something?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      That’s tomorrow’s MLBTR post around 10:00 AM.

      They should just sign them all the way the WWE signs guys to “Legends” contracts. Then you can just bring them in for one-time cameos as the situation calls for it (all sharing one roster spot, of course), have them live in a big house, and film a reality show for YES. Make this happen.

    • CJ says:

      Can’t we offer the million to Paul O’Neill first? He looks like he’s in great shape on YES and if he only has to platoon at DH, who knows?
      Matsui, Damon, now Giambi? Enough.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Can’t. He’d ask for #21. NO ONE can have #21.

      • Joe B. says:

        Enough? I’m not talking about Giambi for the sake of brining in a former Yankee. In an admittedly SSS, Giambi lit up RHP to the tune of .273/.354/.636 with 10 HR in 113 ABs last year. That looks like the perfect platoon partner for Jones to me, even if he’s getting up there in years. For $1M that’s a steal.

    • Jb says:

      Saw Giambi yesterday in Palm Springs, told him yanks were in market for dh, smiled and said he’d love to. Good guy.

  8. Robinson Tilapia says:

    I said what I think in the open thread. The question is whether Matsui or Damon can still give some production in a more reduced role to what they had last year. Either would DH when no one else has the day off and/or Jones isn’t starting.

    For sentimental value? Of course. Would it work? Someone mentioned splits that don’t work above. If you can’t get Pena, either is going to up there, take pitches, and give some occasional pop. I’d probably take either over sending down Vazquez at the end of May.

  9. Granderslam says:

    I still think with all that depth, there has to be a trade opportunity. If not now, then definitely come July.

  10. Monterowasdinero says:

    I think Pena will go to the Brewers as soon as Fielder leaves. Damon would then be next best option.

  11. AC says:

    Damon not Gina’s accept 1 year deal at 2 mill.

  12. AC says:

    Damon not Gonna accept 1 year deal at 2 mill.

  13. Steve H says:

    I think I’d rather go with the rotating DH until the deadline and pick up a bat. Veterans won’t take role reductions in free agenct, but as the Yankees have shown in the past few years it’s easier to fill in bench spots during the season. I hate the idea of the rotating DH, but as long as it wasn’t a season long thing I’d take my chance of getting a solid bat in June or July.

  14. Monterowasdinero says:

    Tomorrow on RAB:

    Yanks contact Posada about DH role.

    10M paycut deemed “fair”

    • ThatstheMelkyMesaWaysa says:

      Wednesday: Yanjees contact Enrique Wilson in case Pedro returns

    • CS Yankee says:

      I was thinking a 11M$ cut and he needs to sign autographs before every home game…
      and needs to keep a glove in his locker…
      and knows that when he DH’s it will be in the 8th-hole…
      and his wife will be needed to be visible during broadcast…
      and he needs to room with AJ on the road…

    • Brian S. says:

      Believe it or not, Posada would probably make more sense than Damon or Matsui. He can hit righties.

    • CS Yankee says:

      BTW, how has Montero changed to “was”?

      Shouldn’t it be “Monteroisdinerobutnowameremariner” or has SafetopitchCo affected his value already?

      Also, I feel your pain in losing him although the trade made sense to both parties.

  15. Pineda, Piñata. Potato, Potahto (Formerly Jesse) says:

    Carlos Pena >>>> Johnny Damon >> Hideki Matsui

  16. T.O. Chris says:

    I just posted this in the Open Thread, but just in case someone who wants to read it isn’t checking it anymore this is a great article from Drays Bay I read this morning on Pineda. It’s a scouting report using pitch graphs to try and map Pineda’s pitches and prove he varies his fastball enough to be considered more than a simple 2-pitch pitcher.

    Highly recommend for anyone into reading more about Pineda.


  17. Steve H says:

    Rather give a minor league deal to Branyan or Cust.

  18. CJ says:

    I wonder if cashman would pursue another prospect trade. Betances for a ML ready position player of similar grade. Age 24-25 Rizzo or dom brown type.

    • T.O. Chris says:

      Rizzo just got traded to the Cubs and is likely to start 2012 in AAA. Even with his struggles this past year Brown hasn’t dropped nearly enough stock to be traded straight up for Betances.

    • Brian S. says:

      Rizzo already was traded to the Cubs but we should definitely package Hughes and a prospect or two for Dom Brown.

      • CJ says:

        Rizzo and Quentin would have been good trade targets but were before dh opened up. I’m asking about deals for young players AAA or ML but still cheap that might be available. I liked Seth smith who was traded today. Trumbo

  19. Jamey says:

    it isn’t a full-time DH gig, so I’d be okay with him competing for the job in spring with Vazquez & then platoon with Jones. Never know, could get one of those “Tino farewell tour” streaks out of him. Damon would be preferable, but he may just be more than they want to pay for a part time player.

    • Plank says:

      I don’t think Damon wants to be a part time player on his march to 3000.

      (Pure conjecture)

    • CS Yankee says:

      If they end up with Damon the Yanks ought to have a opt-out clause the first time he says “this is where I’ve always wanted to be.”

      Didn’t he turn down a 2/26 and ended up with a 1/8 & a 1/5? It ended up being a good thing that he had his pride (and agent) keeping him from staying.

      • bankers hours says:

        He turned down $14m for 2 years, get your facts straight. Damon was a great Yankee and we don’t win the 09 series without him. I don’t like the Damon bashers. We’ve been waiting for 3 years for Tex and his $180m contract to do something in the post season and everyone gives him a pass. If you’re a Yankee it’s real important to produce in the post season and Damon did that for us, respect that.

        • Reggie C. says:

          Teixeira’s regular season performance these past two years are the center of much hand wringing. Would love to see Teix get back to ’09 form. I’ll be much more comfortable in then saying that Teix can then have a productive post-season. First, Teix needs that confidence from recent, consistent success; something eluding him in ’11.

  20. Steve H says:

    Think I’d rather sign Barry Bonds.

    • Plank says:

      So would I. He’s probably available, too. He could probably still get a .400 OBP.

      85 games. .190/.400/.400 I would take that.

    • CMP says:

      Not a bad idea. If he sucked, you could always just release him. I bet he could get off his death bed and produce a .250/.350/.450 season as DH.

      • Preston says:

        I actually seriously think they should do this. He wouldn’t do it unless he got paid what he’s used to though. It would be a smart career move though. He could delay his hall vote for seven years, really helping his chances of getting in.

  21. GardnergoesYardner says:

    I’d rather have a Hideki or a Damon come in and be the full time DH instead of getting someone to platoon with Jones. I don’t know why everyone’s taking Jones to be a sure platoon partner. He had a great second half last year, but he had a mediocre first half. He hasn’t had a lot of conisistency since leaving the Braves, and you don’t know which Andruw Jones he will be: the overweight, sluggish one who was susceptible to breaking pitches or the one who mashed lefties.

  22. CJ says:

    CC will DH for free. He loves to hit and it’s a great way to stay in shape.

  23. Another Bronx Dynasty says:


    Cashman to ink Yogi as the new DH for 2012 & gets permission for Hal.

  24. Ken says:

    AJ and Raffy for Jason Bay.

    • Needed Pitching says:

      of the three, Soriano is the only useful player (and maybe AJ could be useful in the pen). This deal probably makes the Yankees worse.

  25. John in Ithaca says:

    Nick Johnson! Kidding.

  26. kevin w. says:

    I’d prefer they go after Pena or Damon first. However, Matsui wouldn’t be the worst option possible if they really only have $2 million to spend. Though I can’t speak of 2010 since I didn’t watch the Angels at all, it seemed both in 2009 and last year that Matsui can still hit when rested regularly. We remember after the NL road trip in 2009 he caught fire, in the World Series when limited to only home games, he tore it up in game 6, and last year following the AS break he caught fire. It could mean nothing, but maybe its trend. And in a time share with Andruw, he would get plenty of rest and maybe could turn to be a valuable asset playing only a few times a week.

    • bankers hours says:

      Matsui would be a terrible option and this comes from someone who absolutely loves Matsui. He’s done, he’s not flexible playing defense or running the bases. Damon is significantly a better option and had far far better numbers than Matsui last year. Damon will hit 260 to 270 steal 15 bases hit 20 HR’s and if we get to the playoffs be more than ready to contribute. We’re paying Swisher $10m per year, who would you rather have up in the playoffs?

  27. Landry says:

    Tino hit a HR on Old Timer’s Day…offer him a contract.

  28. Fernando says:

    No to Mastsui, Damon, Betemit, Bay, Manny, Drew, Guerrero and Thames.
    Yes to Carlos Pena, Jorge Vazquez or rotating dh.

    • kevin w. says:

      Jorge Vazquez will be a horrible, horrible major leaguer. When you’re 29, in AAA, and have more HR than walks, you’re not going to be a serious contributor to a team. He is the definition of a quad-A player.

    • Reggie C. says:

      yes to “rotating DH” … okay … So let Cashman go ahead and sign Wilson Betemit to complement Andruw Jones. Betemit won’t kill us at the plate. Period.

  29. Red says:

    Why not Casey Kotchman? He has played a lot in the AL East and had a solid year with Tampa. He was a tough out for the Yankees last year. He certainly will not show HR power, but last year he hit over .300 and had a very solid OBP.

  30. matt says:

    it just occured to me, why not invite dmitri young to spring training, after losing 70 pounds. it couldnt hurt and best case scenerio he is a lefty that could platoon at dh atleast for the beginning of the season

  31. mike oxifloppin says:

    I like Pena+Jones platoon.. 40+hrs easily

  32. hogsmog says:

    I feel like Chavez could give everything Matsui could, plus actually being able to contribute defensively..

  33. Lily says:

    i think russell branyan could help the yanks. y not give him a shot?

  34. mt says:

    I still remember some of the home run shots Branyan hit at Yankee Stadium – he also could back up first and may be less than $2 million.

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