Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes about Hideki Matsui‘s future with the Yankees. Matsui, 34, projects as the team’s full-time DH and Opening Day cleanup hitter this year. Sherman says that after two knee surgeries the Yankees view him strictly as a designated hitter.
The Yankees’ outfield may see changes for 2010. Matsui is a free agent after the season, as are Scott Boras clients Johnny Damon and Xavier Nady. Nick Swisher is under contract through 2011. Sherman says that since the Yanks may want to keep the DH spot open for Jorge Posada and other stars under contract, Matsui may not make sense. Interesting names on the free agent market after ’09: Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, Rick Ankiel, Mike Cameron, Bobby Abreu, Jermaine Dye, and possibly Manny Ramirez.
Matsui told Sherman he’d be open to playing for other teams and doesn’t intend to return to Japan. Like many corner outfield/DH types, Matsui will probably have to take a large pay cut in free agency even if he has a solid year.