Red Sox Have Interest In Free Agent Matsui

Daniel HillmanContributor INovember 12, 2009

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04:  Hideki Matsui #55 of the New York Yankees walks off the field after their 7-3 win against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Six of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on November 4, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images



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According to Japan's Nikkan Sports and, the Red Sox are prepared to make a multi-year offer to World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui. Sources say that Matsui, who has spent the past seven seasons as a member of the New York Yankees, wants to return to play baseball in America, and has ruled out playing in Japan in 2010.

Where would Matsui fit in the Red Sox lineup?

Earlier this week the Seattle Mariners resigned legend, Ken Griffey Jr., to a one year deal, which seemingly ruled out one of the possible few suitors that people could see signing the man known as Godzilla.

Although the Yankees and their fans would absolutely throw up in their shirts at the thought of seeing Matsui in a Red Sox jersey, Yankees hierarchy has to (if the Red Sox are actually willing to) let the Red Sox go ahead and sign the 35-year old Matsui, who simply can't play the outfield anymore and is relegated to DH duties only.

A signing of Matsui by Theo Epstein and the Red Sox would leave a very bizarre, injury prone, logjammed looking roster heading into 2010. A sign that perhaps all this brew-ha-ha is simply a dose of gamesmanship being performed by the Red Sox brass to up the price for any potential of the Yankees resigning Matsui.

But hypothetically, if the Red Sox were to sign Matsui, that would leave the Sox with three potential DH's; Matsui who could barely handle the work load of part time duty at DH, Ortiz, who is still the face of the franchise but has never been able to play in the field, and Mike Lowell who seems to be on the brink of not being able to play the hot corner every single game anymore. Not to be forgotten in this mix is right fielder J.D. Drew, who seems to come up with a nagging back injury one or two times a season, and still has four years remaining on a 7-year contract, also benefits from the occasional day at DH, and if his back problems continue to worsen, the way they often do- he will one day need to become a full-time DH as well.

Considering all this it would be essential for the Red Sox to place Matsui out in left field as often as they could. But if the team should resign last season's left fielder, Jason Bay, then what? If they don't resign Bay, it's not reasonable nor realistic to assume Matsui can stand out in left field on his bum knees and provide the same offensive numbers he put up in his relegated 450 at-bats this season with the Yankees. Especially considering that Matsui had to drain those knees of fluids almost bi-monthly.

Also to be taken into account is that the Red Sox earlier this week announced that they plan on having Victor Martinez as their everyday catcher in 2010. Yes the same Victor Martinez who had one of the worst throwing percentages a few seasons back which became so detrimental to the Indians team that he began playing first base (PAGING TEAMS IN THE AL EAST, LOAD UP ON BASE STEALERS IN 2010 WHEN YOU PLAY THE RED SOX).

Yes the same Victor Martinez who threw out about 12% of base runners attempting to steal in 2009 (*By comparison, Jorge Posada, who people pan for being a poor defensive catcher at this stage of his career threw out 22% of base runners attempting to steal in 2009).

YES, this is the same Victor Martinez, who when catching his team had an ERA near 5 1/2 in 2009, compared to his recently demoted back-up catcher and "CAPTAIN" of the Boston Red Sox, Jason Vartiek, who when catching the Red Sox ERA was 3.87.

And (yet again), Yes- this is the same Victor Martinez that the Sox will bank on to provide 20-something home runs and 80-90 RBI's and hit in the middle of their line-up.

So what if Victor Martinez at catcher everyday doesn't work?

Regardless, if the Red Sox are truly interested in signing Matsui to a multi-year deal, the New York Yankees, much to the heartache of the fan base, should sit on their hands and allow the Red Sox to do just that.