Jack Curry of YES Network is reporting that the Tampa Bay Rays are expected to announce that they’ve signed Hideki Matsui to a Minor League deal.
While there would be little risk involved in seeing what Matsui has left in the tank, bringing the left handed hitter, who’s only made 66 starts in the outfield over the last three years, is curious considering the off season acquisition of Luke Scott, who has shown glimpses of the power he displayed back in 2010. It’s difficult to imagine either batter getting much time in the outfield, or at first base where Carlos Pena is firmly entrenched.
Last season in Oakland, Matsui dressed for an impressive 141 games, but failed to impress with the worst wOBA among qualified designated hitters to go along with an on base rate that saw him reach safely in only 32% of his plate appearances. Among DHs, only Vladimir Guerrero was judged to have offered less value than Matsui.
The Rays also recently claimed the left handed hitting Brandon Allen off of waivers from the Oakland A’s.
What does all of this mean? I’m not entirely sure, but if I’m a Major League Baseball general manager, I’m locking up all replacement level corner infield, corner outfield and utility types that hit from the left side, just in case the Rays are trying something.