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!