Previewing The Hideki Matsui Market

Hideki Matsui has three multi-homer games in the last week and a half, so he's clearly got something left, even at 35. The Yankees have reportedly decided not to bring Matsui back, but his bat should make him appealing to other teams. With 23 homers and just eight more strikeouts than walks, Matsui has a .265/.365/.508 line for the season.

The problem is, he hasn't played an inning in the outfield this year and he played just 24 games in the field last season. He would like to play defense, but even when he has taken the field, Matsui has been a consistent liability, according to UZR. It's hard to imagine an NL team paying millions for Matsui, so let's consider some possible AL destinations. 

The Red Sox, Indians, Twins and Rays have DHs under contract for next year, so unless they get creative, Matsui won't fit. The Angels and White Sox will see their own DHs hit free agency after the season; The Royals have Billy Butler and Mike Jacobs under control next year and the A's may be reluctant to bring in an aging DH for a second straight year. The Rangers could have interest depending on what they do with Marlon Byrd, Hank Blalock and Julio Borbon; The Jays could have interest if they have enough money; and it wouldn't be fair to completely rule out the Mariners, Tigers or Orioles. 

Matsui hits free agency alongside Jim Thome, Vladimir Guerrero and Gary Sheffield, so there could be more DHs than DH jobs this offseason. The league-wide emphasis on defense and youth doesn't help Matsui's value, either. It only takes a couple injuries or trades to change that dramatically, but at this point, the offseason market for Matsui doesn't look promising, in spite of his hot streak.

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