It’s Official! Hidecki Matsui finally signed a one-year contract with the Oakland A’s yesterday. The A’s held a press conference to introduce their new DH to the public.
The hot stove news conference attracted a ton of media and about 100 Japanese affiliates. I had wrote in an earlier piece, that Matsui has a huge cult following in his hometown of Japan, a win-win for the A’s where they will get the extra press in and around the Asian community. It was reported that even the Japanese consul general of San Francisco, Hiroshi Inomata was in attendance, a big deal for his fans back home.
Matsui, who put on his brand spanking new Oakland A’s No. 55 home jersey, signed on for $4.25 million dollars, which includes a bonus of $100,000. This deal with Matsui will fill in the gap that has been haunting the team since last season, their very poor offense.
A’s Manager told MLB.com that, “He has a combination of power and [hitting] for average and on-base percentage, he can be a situational hitter. He is going to fit in really well. We haven’t had anybody with his pedigree and experience.” The DH had a good run with the Angels last season hitting .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI’s. This is exactly what the team needs, a player that can bring a dependable bat in the middle of the lineup
Matsui, will bring with him both his seasoned experience from his starter days with Japan’s Yomiuri Giants, to his extended stints with the both the Yankees and the Angels, as well as his leadership/mentorship, a trait likely to be passed down to the A’s younger players. There seems to be a consensus with many of the player already. A’s starter Dallas Braden has been quoted as saying, “To have Godzilla by the bay instead of Anaheim – that’s big for us. It’s awesome. This guy brings a totally different ingredient.” Catcher Kurt Suzukialso chimed in about the deal and said, “I like this, I think it’s great for us young hitters to have a guy like Matsui around. It gives us someone to look up to. He’s done it all, he’s a champion and he’s a pure professional.
Now, with this deal inked, management still has to continue to scout out more talent for its offense and has a hefty winter surplus of money to add those players to their lineup. Beane has expressed some concern the free market is becoming thin and that the A’s may consider trades, however he would prefer not to move their young starters. There have been rumors that that the team is going to go back and consider speaking with Red Sox 3B Adrian Beltre, whether he wants to play in Oakland or not remains to be unseen, but with Matsui on board perhaps he may change his mind about putting on a Swingin A’s uniform.
Other News: Reliever Joey Devine used his leverage of salary arbitration to sign a one-year-contract with the A’s. If my memory serves me correct, he has not played for the last two seasons due to his injuries as well as his post 09 Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Back in 08 he was 6-1 with a 0.59 ERA in 42 relief appearances with the team.
Tags: A's A's Baseball A's Lineup Adrian Beltre AL West Anaheim Angels Athletics Blog Baseball Billy Beane Dallas Braden Hideki Matsui Hot Stove Joey Devine MLB New York Yankees Oakland A's Oakland Athletics Press Conference Signing