Monday, February 1, 2010

Yankee brass knows team will miss Matsui

New York Yankees officials finally acknowledged what us fans have known for months, that they are really going to miss Hideki Matsui. During a six-day tour of Asia with the 2009 World Series championship trophy, Brian Cashman and Randy Levine were full of praise for Godzilla, who left the Bronx Bombers to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Cashman called the signing of Matsui one of the best baseball deals he ever made while Levine called Godzilla a great Yankee. They tried to blame timing for Matsui's departure, with a focus on re-signing pitcher Andy Pettitte before they could move on to other players. But Matsui reportedly told a Japanese newspaper that he loved the Yankees, but no longer felt valued by the team.
Matsui's absence presents a real lineup problem. Who will protect Alex Rodriguez? The Yankees could put Jorge Posada permanently in that slot, but he hits into a lot double plays. Robinson Cano is not a good option because he's terrible with runners in scoring position. Perhaps Curtis Granderson, if he can solve left-handed pitching?

The Yankees also have a marketing problem. Matsui was the main draw with the die-hard Japanese fan base and Levine said he hopes they keep rooting for the Bronx Bombers. Will those fans get up early to watch Yankee games without Matsui? Probably not. But with Matsui now joining Ichiro on the West Coast, at least they can sleep in.

Thanks to Keith Allison via Wikipedia for the photo.

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