Surprised by that headline? I was too and the more I think about it, the more I get depressed. As I read the report from MLBtraderumors.com, it was a Japanese link so I’ll take their word for it, my jaw dropped a bit. Well, they are only having “internal discussions” but sadly Hideki Matsui does fit the “jackpot” type player Jeff Luhnow spoke about in his past interviews. Is he a bad get? Is he done? Stros could get a better player, right? This news does bring up quite a few questions but might also give fans a glimpse into what to expect this offseason.
When the offseason plans came to light, I knew the Astros wouldn’t be shopping for Josh Hamilton or Greinke but I did expect some interesting names would be wearing the new Stros blue and orange. That might still happen when everything is said and done, however this news kind of brings me back to reality. Matsui would be a cheap get who would be here a year and then gone again. It buys time for the kids to get ready while giving the Astros another potential asset at the trade deadline if they do indeed hit the jackpot. I get that and see their reasoning. That said, again, its deflating because the thought of Mike Napoli and Torii Hunter took a serious hit and may now be history.
Matsui, in his day, was a great hitter and, of course, well known around baseball. Those days are long gone and has become a reclamation project, at best. Having been released by a few clubs now, his time is running out in America. The Astros would provide him with one last chance at playing state side, which might be the motivation he needs. Hideki is two years removed from his last good season and it was a darn good season with the Angels. However, the last two seasons have been blah to bad and at 38, I don’t expect much. Now, what if he emerges as a viable option at DH with a decent .750 OPS and a nice OBP? That would be fantastic for a club looking for offense. I’d expect a decent salary at around 3-5 million over 1 year which is fine, I guess.
Not the move I expected, if it really happens, but it is one that you could see coming. Maybe the Stros view him as a backup plan in case Lance Berkman or someone else falls through. Lots of questions and a whole offseason to decipher the Luhnow code.