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Hideki Matsui expected to sign with Rays

Apr 23, 2012, 5:31 PM EDT

Hideki Matsui Reuters

Hideki Matsui went unsigned this offseason and was rarely even linked to any teams, but now Jack Curry of YES Network reports that 38-year-old “is expected to soon sign a minor-league deal” with the Rays.

It’s an odd fit, as Tampa Bay has gotten very good production from Luke Scott as their primary designated hitter and the defense-focused Rays seem unlikely to use Matsui in the outfield even if his bad knees would allow it physically.

From the Rays’ point of view it’s a no-risk flier and while Matsui didn’t hit much for the A’s last season–posting a career-low .696 OPS–that was the first time he’d failed to top a .775 OPS and he did bat .274 with 21 homers and an .820 OPS in 145 games for the Angels in 2010.

Matsui will likely spend some time at Triple-A while the Rays decide if they need an extra bat.

  1. wlschneider09 - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Which makes the pickup of Brandon Allen even more puzzling.

  2. spudchukar - Apr 23, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Maybe they cannot handle Luke Scott anymore, and have decided that even Matsui, and his rapidly declining talents, are a better option than the mental midget Scott.

  3. hittfamily - Apr 23, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Poor Brandon Guyer. He has an OPS over .900 in AAA, is getting sued for 5 million dollars for loaning out his truck, was bypassed in spring training in favor of Reid Brignac, was kept off the roster when Upton went on the DL in favor of a 3rd catcher – Steven Vogt – to be the backup outfielder, and now this. This guy(er) can’t catch a break.

  4. mikeincmn - Apr 23, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    I don’t see the downside for the Rays, I mean Allen is far from a reliable power bat off the bench so matsui is a nice insurance policy. I am a bit surprised hideki would take a minor league deal, if only because I thought he would just retire. Shows what I know.

    As for Guyer, you kinda wonder if he isn’t being kept down in the minors because of the Matt Bush incident. I mean, while he wasn’t directly involved, he is a part of the story and maybe the Rays just don’t want him around due to the bad press?

  5. mybrunoblog - Apr 23, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Matsuri can still be a valuable lefty bat off the bench. He is a good contact hitter and a real pro in the clubhouse where he was always well liked by teammates. Good for him. I hope he has some gas left in the tank and makes it.

  6. randygnyc - Apr 23, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    I like Godzilla, a LOT. I sure hope this isn’t accurate. I’m hoping he doesn’t land in the east.

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