Finally! Some Angles news! Well, sort of…

The Angels declined to offer Hideki Matsui arbitration. Based on hints and rumors from the end of the season, this is hardly surprising. Looking at Matsui’s final 2010 season numbers, he finished pretty close to his 2009 stats. He definitely performed. But the way things worked out, his hot streaks came at the beginning of the season, when things were still hopeful and at the end of the season when it was too late to matter. It’s not his fault that he slumped in the middle of the season right alongside everyone else on the team. But when the DH position is batting near the Mendoza line for the month of May, and the primary DH is a recent acquisition purchased largely for his clutch bat, he’s going to draw a lot of fan ire. Matsui is a heck of a ballplayer, a classy guy and seems like a great teammate. He could go on to have another great, difference making, MVP year next year but after a year where he performed but his performances didn’t really make a difference, it’s probably time for a clean break for all concerned. Again, Matsui is not the only guy on the team who failed to make a difference – the whole team pretty much earned that “distinction” this year. He’s just the new guy the front office brought in specifically to make a difference, who failed to do so. Bad timing all around. Clean cup, move down…

Except, declining to offer Matsui arbitration doesn’t actually mean anything other than that the Angels don’t want to pay that salary to have Matsui on the team next season. I don’t think they’re going to, but the Angels could always try to sign him back for less money as a free agent. My point is simply that at this odd time of year even the news is neither new information nor particularly informative, and the rumors and gossip become real news.

Case in point, suddenly an unnamed major league source saying that Tony Reagins may be in serious talks with Carl Crawford is huge news. In my previous existence in the mortgage industry, there was a time I could have looked at a similarly vague reference to mortgage banking and told you with a reasonable degree of certainty who the unnamed source worked for, if the leak was strategic or unplanned, what the intent of the message was and the degree to which it was or was not BS. I truly envy those of you who have the background and inside track to be able to discern that here.

Oh well, back to the hints, speculations and random gossip. Sometimes there is big solid Angels news in November or early December, so here’s hoping!



  1. Jane Heller

    I loved Matsui when he was a Yankee, but he was always a streaky hitter. Fortunately for us, his good streaks usually came in the postseason, as evidenced by his WS MVP award. He’s a classy guy so I hope he either signs with the Angels for less money or lands with another team, if that’s what he wants.

  2. raysrenegade

    Considering that Bobby abreu could possibly do some relief duty in the outfield and be mostly a DH for the Halos in 2011, it made Matsui expendable.
    Still think hemight just jettison up the coast a bit and play with fellow Japanese star Ichiro in Seattle.
    That ballpark would favor Matsui, plus give the team a offensive weapon they missed so much after Bradley and Griffey Jr, basically disappeared from the Mariner’s batting order.

    Rays Renegade

  3. tribe24_7

    You guys just replace one all star with another. Matsui is a great player. Think the Rangers would be interested in him? (Vlad being a free agent) Thanks for visiting my blog. After deciding to change the design of it, I somehow deleted my first couple post. But were back up now.

  4. blithescribe

    Jane – I think a lot of the good ones are streaky hitters and this wasn’t a case of Matsui having a bad year so much as his streaks, good and bad, coinciding with everyone else’s. I enjoyed having him on the team but I got the impression that because of everything just not clicking this year (and I do mean everything, way beyond Matsui) the front office was just going to go in a completely different direction. Because I hope that new direction includes Bobby Abreu as the primary DH and Carl Crawford in left field I am not opposed to this decision, but if they don’t land Crawford or Werth or someone else for left they should totally keep Matsui…either way I definitely wish him the best next year.

    Rays Renegade – That is my hope! Bobby as the DH and Crawford or another new acquisition in left field but, while I can certainly surmise that that is what this decision was about, no one in the Angels front office is going to confirm this until the deal is done, if it happens at all. Matsui in Seattle sounds interesting. I do want to see him somewhere he’s happy next season, happy and productive but completely slumping when he plays the Angels. Is that too greedy a request? 🙂

    srf17 – I wondered where your blog went. I’ll go check it out again later this weekend. Tell me about it! Matsui is a great player. I surmise that the reasoning behind this decision is that the Angels can move Bobby Abreu to DH once they land Carl Crawford or another new acquisition for left field, a decision I wholeheartedly endorse but which certainly isn’t written in stone. If the Rangers just completely let Vlad go with no attempt to resign him to a cheaper contract and then pick up Matsui, I am going to laugh a lot…and then cry if they take that to the playoffs again.

    Now back to creaming spinach and chopping a mountain of onions and such for me. Oye, I feel like Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia, LOL.

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