Hiedki Matsui isn’t having a fabulous year, but it hasn’t been terrible either: .272/.361/.454 with 20 homers. He’ll likely want to play again in 2011, and I’m guessing some teams may be willing to give him a look.
One team he talked about yesterday was the Athletics, who he tells Susan Slusser, might be a good fit for him:
said he likes the Bay Area and he noted that it has a “decent-sized
Asian community.” He also said that the vast Coliseum wouldn’t be any
deterrent as far as he is concerned.
“You could say it’s definitely a big ballpark. There’s a huge amount
of foul ground,” Matsui said. “But I’ve always had a positive
experience there. I’ve hit pretty well there.”
And, as Slusser points out, he has. He doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense in Oakland, however, unless he’s willing to take a pretty sizable pay cut. After all, the A’s DH this year is Jack Cust. His production has been fairly similar to Matsui’s — higher OBP, less power — and he’s done it for close to $4 million less than Matsui made.
Given that Oakland let Cust basically walk last winter only to sign him, send him to Sacramento and then bring him back to the big club, it’s not like there are a ton of bidders for his services. They can probably pay him around the same in 2011 that they paid him this year, and stick with the devil they know rather than take a chance on one they don’t know. And if they truly want to improve an offense that really needs improving, they need to better than either Cust or Matsui.
Either way, I hope there is furious bidding for Matsui this winter. Because I really want to see my friend again.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2010 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.