The offseason was one to forget for free agent outfielder and designated hitter Hideki Matsui. Matsui failed to draw any interest from any team and was not signed prior to Spring Training. However, Matsui is expected to sign a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays soon, according to YES Network’s Jack Curry.
Matsui has seen better days since his time with the New York Yankees where he finished his tenure there with a World Series ring and a World Series MVP award, the first Japanese player to win such award. In 2010, Matsui agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. There he played in 145 games and batted .274/.361/.459 for the team and hit 21 homers and drove in 84 RBI.
Angels did not re-sign Matsui though as he moved to the Oakland Athletics organization splitting time between the left field position and designated hitter slot. Matsui played in 141 games for the team and batted .251/.321/.375 which is considerably lower than his 2010 numbers. He also managed to only hit 12 homers but drive in 72 RBI, which may have turned some teams off to him along with his age. Matsui is 37-years-old.
Matsui has the chances now to make an impact on the Rays team if he makes the Major League roster. The possible plan for him is to come off the bench as an extra bat or split designated hitting duties with Luke Scott as their is no room in the outfield for any 37-year-old ball player nowadays.
The Rays are 9-7 so far this season and are in fourth place in the American League East division.