After ten years in the major leagues and another ten playing for Japan's Yomiuri Giants, outfielder Hideki Matsui is set to announce his retirement in press conference this afternoon, according to a report from Sanspo (Japanese link). The 38-year-old hooked on with the Rays last season and appeared in 34 games before being released in August.
Matsui made a major splash stateside in December 2002 when he signed a three-year deal worth $21MM with the Yankees. He would then re-up in 2005 on a four-year, $52MM deal which made him the highest paid Japanese player in baseball at the time, surpassing the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki. Matsui stayed with the Bombers through 2009, posting a slash line of .292/.370/.482 with 140 home runs over that span.
The slugger is fondly remembered by Yankees fans for his MVP award-winning performance in the 2009 World Series, specifically in the decisive Game 6. Matsui captured the award despite starting only three of the six games, as there was no DH spot in the games played in Philadelphia. Matsui would parlay that momentum into a one-year, $6.5MM deal with the Angels over the offseason.
Despite his less-than-stellar 2012 stint in Tampa Bay, Matsui still drew some interest this winter from clubs looking for a DH. Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow told the Japanese press in November that he the team had internal discussions about signing Matsui. For his career, Matsui has earned an estimated $83.3MM in the major leagues, not counting his earnings in Japan.
Special thanks to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker for his translation.