Hideki Matsui’s deal with Rays worth up to $900,000


Tampa Bay seemingly didn’t have much need for Hideki Matsui when they signed him to a minor-league contract last month, but it turns out the price was low enough that it doesn’t really matter.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times has the details of Matsui’s contract and reports that he’d earn just $900,000 if the Rays call him up to the majors. By comparison, even with a limited market for his services last offseason Matsui managed a one-year, $4.25 million deal from the A’s.

Topkin also reports that Matsui is earning just $10,000 per month while at Triple-A, which is a low figure, but the Rays are also paying his public relations person and interpreter.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

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Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.