Thing number one: Angels GM Tony Reagins hasn’t totally ruled out bringing him back for 2011:
“Would I say that it’s completely out of the likelihood that he’ll be
back? I can’t say that at this point. You never know.”
Eh, I’m going to assume that’s just polite talk, because the Angels likely aren’t going to have room for him, what with Bobby Abreu almost certainly moving into the DH slot. Still, given how everyone has assumed that Matsui was one-and-done in Anaheim, even a vague comment suggesting otherwise is noteworthy.
Something else you didn’t know: For all of the talk early in the season about Vlad Guerrero breaking out down in Texas and Matsui disappointing in Anaheim, Matsui actually finished the year with a higher OPS+ — that is, park adjusted OPS — than Vlad did (124 to 122). Matsui finished the season pretty darn strong, and ended up with a stat line that was pretty darn close to his career averages.
Matsui isn’t done. Someone would be wise to take a chance on him for one more year. Hell, if they don’t win the World Series thanks to some poor clutch hitting this month, that someone could even be the Yankees, couldn’t it?
The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.
Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”
Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.
Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.