Tyler Kepner of The New York Times is reporting that Hideki Matsui has agreed to a one-year deal with the Angels, ending his seven-year tenure with the Yankees. Matsui was tremendous with the Yankees, hitting .292/.370, 140 HR, 597 RBI, thrice scoring 100 or more runs, earning the 2009 World Series MVP with his 8-13 hitting and driving in a Series-record-tying 6 RBI in the Game 6 clincher. He was always terrific as a player and teammate, well-liked, hard-working, absolutely clutch, even apologizing to his teammates for injuring his wrist in 2006 against Boston to break his consecutive games streak. The Yankees wanted to get younger and more flexible with the DH and the outfield, understandably so. That said, they will not find it easy to replace Matsui’s 28 HR, 90 RBI, .274/.367 with clutch hitting and solid work against lefties (throughout his whole career, really) in 2009.
Matsui-san, you will be missed. Outstanding Yankee.
This may make it more difficult for the Yankees to impose that “soft deadline” of two weeks on JD, whose negotiating position might just have improved with Matsui’s leaving and Boston’s moves today, signing Lackey and closing in on Cameron to play LF. JD back for two well-paid years is fine with me, pairing with Jeter for the sport’s best 1-2 tandem and providing the DH/LF flexibility the Yanks need. The Yanks could do worse than re-signing JD. Though some may disagree, I hope that, for terms acceptable for both sides, it happens.