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.
Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.
I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.
I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.
As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.
There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.
Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.