MLB Free Agents: 6 Teams That Could Still Use a Hitter Like Hideki Matsui

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2012

MLB Free Agents: 6 Teams That Could Still Use a Hitter Like Hideki Matsui

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    The 2012 MLB season has entered its infancy, and some teams are quickly realizing they may need some additional help to compete. Luckily for these teams, there is a veteran on the market that can still hit with the best of them.

    Hideki Matsui, better known as “Godzilla,” is still a free agent and appears to be biding his time before some team comes calling in need of his services.

    It’s true that Matsui is getting old as he approaches the age of 38, but it’s hard to overlook a career .285 batter with 753 RBI's and a World Series MVP title under his belt.

    Matsui doesn’t play the outfield as well as seasons past and has a reputation of being injury prone. With that being said, he could be a major contributor as a designated hitter for clubs in need of some extra firepower.

    Here are six teams that could still use a hitter like Hideki Matsui.

New York Yankees

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    The New York Yankees stumbled out of the gate to begin the 2012 season, and they currently find themselves with a mediocre 1-3 record, with their only win coming against the Baltimore Orioles.

    The Yanks are struggling mightily at the plate. Derek Jeter is lighting it up, but Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira are all batting below a .240 average.

    It’s early on in the season, but the Yanks look like they could use another bat, and quickly. The Yankees had contact with Hideki Matsui a couple months ago, and now looks like a good time to resume talks.

Detroit Tigers

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    The Tigers are arguably the best team in all of baseball right now and lead the league in most offensive categories. The acquisition of Prince Fielder certainly didn’t hurt, but a team can never have too much offensive fire power.

    In January the Tigers showed some interest in Hideki Matsui, and it’s not hard to imagine them having some now as he is still readily available on the market.

    Matsui would provide some impressive depth and at times come in and provide yet another offensive weapon. He’d likely love the chance to play for a contender, so this sounds like a natural fit.

Oakland Athletics

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    The Oakland Athletics aren’t exactly having an amazing start to their 2012 campaign either after racking up a 1-3 record. They are struggling heavily in terms of on-base percentage, and that’s never a good thing.

    As of now the A’s only have four players batting over .300, and that’s going to have to change for them to rebound.

    Hideki Matsui played for the A’s in 2011 and had an impressive season, recording 130 hits, 72 RBI’s and a .251 batting average. The A’s have said Matsui returning is unlikely because they have younger options at designated hitter, but it couldn’t hurt to bring him in to provide a spark.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a strong beginning to their 2012 season at 3-1. Offensively they rank right in the middle of the pack in most categories, which is good enough, but good enough has never won anything significant.

    Back in December the Dodgers were considering bringing in Hideki Matsui because they needed more left-handed hitting depth. Matsui could still provide that given the Dodgers have any interest.

    Matsui won’t be able to contribute much defensively, but he could provide a spark off the bench. He’s still available and wants to play, so the Dodgers should give him a call if they want some quality depth.

Los Angeles Angels

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    The Los Angeles Angels are struggling to score runs right now. It’s obviously early in the season, but bringing in Hideki Matsui could help to solve that issue pretty quickly.

    Matsui played for the Angels in 2010, and played impressively at that. He had 132 hits, 84 RBI’s and a solid .274 batting average. His role would likely be lessened now, but he could still contribute offensively in spot-duty.

    The Angels have a great chance to compete this year, and adding a veteran like Matsui would be a smart move. He won’t wow the crowd anymore, but he’s a good clubhouse example and can still hit the ball well.

Minnesota Twins

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    The Minnesota Twins have simply been all-around awful to begin the season. They’re 0-4, rank last in runs, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. But hey, they rank 28th in batting average. They also only have three players batting over .300 right now.

    Hideki Matsui can still hit, and it’s clear that the Twins cannot. He could come in and immediately provide an offensive upgrade that the club needs desperately.

    As stated before, Matsui won’t contribute much defensively, but that’s not the point here. The Twins need help offensively and they should seriously consider giving Matsui whatever he wants.