Thursday, September 17, 2009

Should the Yankees bring Matsui back?

Throughout this season, we've been hearing one mantra: of their aging outfielders, the Yankees should only bring Johnny Damon back, if, in fact, they choose to retain either. Damon can still play in the field and run a bit on the bases, and his swing is perfect for the new Yankee Stadium. Hideki Matsui couldn't even play the field during interleague play when the Yankees had no DH for nine straight games, and periodically needs time off to get his knees drained.

The problem, however, is that when Hideki Matsui has been in the line up, he has mashed.

Despite an abysmally slow start, Matsui has an OPS of nearly 1.000 against LHP, and it should not go without comment here that Matsui is a left-handed batter.

He's not too shabby against right-handed pitching, either.

Last night, Matsui's two run bomb tied the game for the Yankees in the eighth inning. It's nothing new for Godzilla--but rather the type of thing he's done all year for the Yankees: coming up with the big hit at the right time and the right place. Let's not forget that previous west coast swing where Matsui hit two home runs in the same game against the Mariners and then did the same again against the Red Sox.

It's easy to say that the Yankees should let Matsui go, that they need to get younger, but when you look at what Matsui has done for the team this season, one must ask whether or not questions of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

No one is arguing that the Yankees should offer a five year deal to Matsui, here, but can there be that much harm in a one-year deal?

Yes, it's true Posada will likely need more time at DH and that the Yankees will end up short a fielder in the outfield (unless you count Hairston or Peña who can play both IF and OF), but the benefit of Matsui's bat is tangible.

It's quite a quandry the Yankees will have--though they might find themselves aided by a thin free agent market and the knowledge that those that are available, like Bay and Holliday, won't come cheap.

At this point, I'm all for bringing back Matsui for a year.

He's done his job to convince me.


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