Via MLB Trade Rumors comes a Tweet from NPB Tracker in which it is claimed that Hideki Matsui’s mere presence on the New York Yankees accounts for “at least” $15 million in annual revenue. NPB bases this assertion on a report that’s written in Japanese, so it’s hard to say where this figure comes from, but we can spitball it a little, can’t we?
One obvious source of income that would presumably dry up if Matsui leaves are those Japanese language billboards that appear on the Yankee Stadium outfield wall and behind home plate and stuff during games. I’m not privy to how much revenue those bring, but I do know that the Cubs recently entered into a a five-year, $10.8 million deal with Under Armour to have its logo displayed on the outfield doors at Wrigley Field.
That led to some litigation which at least suggested that the deal wasn’t worth the money to Under Armour (UA wanted out from under the deal, the Cubs sued to keep it in place), so a ~$2 million a year value for that may be high as these things go. At least in Chicago and at least when it doesn’t involve the Japanese market. Let’s say that the Yankee Stadium ads are worth half again as much as the UA ads are. $3-4 million? I could totally see that.
After that, figure in a few million for Matsui and Yankee merch in Japan. Then figure in the fact that a bunch more eyes are watching Yankee broadcasts in Japan as well. Once you start adding these things up, it’s not hard to envision a situation in which, even if Matsui’s contract isn’t totally paid for, it’s heavily subsidized by revenue specific to his presence on the roster.
In the ordinary course it makes little sense to sign a 35 year-old guy who can only DH to a multi-year deal in excess of eight figures annually. In light of the Matsui-related revenue, however, I’d be shocked if the Yankees didn’t sign the guy.
Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.
Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.
Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.
Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.
Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.
Tommy Stokke of RanRag Sports reports that the Braves and Rangers agreed to a trade. According to ESPN’s Keith Law, the Braves will receive pitcher Luke Jackson from the Rangers in exchange for pitchers Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl.
Jackson, 25, is under team control through 2022. He has logged only 18 innings in the majors, yielding 14 runs on 22 hits and eight walks with three strikeouts. While Jackson has struggled with control, the Braves likely see upside because his fastball sits in the mid- to high-90’s.
Jenkins, 24, is also under team control through 2022. The right-hander made eight starts and six relief appearances in his first major league season in 2016, putting up a 5.88 ERA with a 26/33 K/BB ratio over 52 innings.
Feigl, 25, was an undrafted free agent and was signed by the Braves in 2013. The lefty underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015 and briefly rehabbed in rookie ball this past season.