Time to trade Matsui?
By Glenn Giangrande
Let me start by saying Hideki Matsui has been the consummate professional in pinstripes and I believe he has given the Yankees everything he possibly could during his tenure, which goes far beyond what he’s done solely on the ball field.
Now that I’ve said that, I’m saying it’s time to cut the cord with him.
Matsui appears to be a major albatross on this roster. It is pretty well known that he will be little more than a DH this season given his knee problems and he’ll turn 35 in June. I’m not going to say his power is officially in decline just yet because he turned in a very solid .285-25-103-100 season the last time he was healthy in ’07, but at his age and with his health problems, Godzilla might be at the tipping point.
My main concerns actually have more to do with players around Matsui than Matsui himself. Jorge Posada has already had one setback this spring in his return from shoulder surgery, and given his age\health issue, he will probably need more than a few at-bats as the DH to keep him fresh for his time behind the plate. Johnny Damon will need the occasional day off from left field as well. Joe Girardi is said to be a huge fan of Nick Swisher, so if he happens to lose the right field battle with Xavier Nady, he and his positive clubhouse presence can slot right into the DH position. It just seems like a number of players offer more to the Yankees than Matsui does right now.
Baseball is a business though, and maybe the Yankees think that dealing Matsui would hurt their brand in Japan. I say their flag has already been planted firmly enough there. They’d probably have to eat a fair amount of his remaining $13 million salary, maybe half of it. At this time though, dealing Matsui might be addition by subtraction when talking solely about roster makeup, and isn’t that what matters when a World Championship is the main goal?