Angels decline to offer arbitration to Matsui
Halos will not receive Draft picks if DH signs elsewhere
The Angels, as expected, did not offer arbitration to Hideki Matsui on Tuesday. The outfielder and designated hitter goes on the open market for the second time, and the club that signs the Type B free agent will not surrender any Draft picks as compensation.
The Angels signed Matsui to a one-year deal last winter for $6 million.
The White Sox have expressed interest in Matsui, according to media reports. The 36-year-old Japanese legend would fill a need for left-handed power on the South Side of Chicago. The Athletics also are believed to have interest in Matsui, and the Rays, who figure to lose left-handed bats Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena in free agency, would seem to be another potential fit.
Matsui, the 2009 World Series MVP for the Yankees, had a solid 2010 season overall for the Angels, starting and finishing strong with a dry spell in the middle of the season. At 36, he batted .274 with a .361 on-base percentage and .459 slugging mark. These numbers were slightly off his career slash line of .290/.369/.479.
Matsui was third on the club with 21 homers and second in RBIs with 84. He appeared in 145 games with 482 at-bats. He batted .304 in August and .344 in September/October, with six homers and 27 RBIs in 44 games.
The Angels haven't closed the door on bringing Matsui back, but it appears doubtful. They have been widely linked in media reports to Crawford and prefer to keep the DH role open to a variety of sources. The club thinks Matsui, while still a dependable left fielder, isn't physically capable of playing in the field more than once or twice a week.
Vladimir Guerrero, the big bat Matsui essentially replaced, also is a free agent after a stellar season in Texas. Guerrero, a Type A free agent, was not offered arbitration by the Rangers, but it is believed they're interested in bringing him back with a new deal.
Guerrero is looking for a multiyear deal after hitting .300 with 29 homers and 115 RBIs as the Texas cleanup man, protecting American League MVP Josh Hamilton in the lineup.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.