Matsui Vs Johnson : Six Months Later
On December 19, 2009 Hideki Matsui signed a 1 year $6.5 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels less than two months after helping lead the New York Yankees to their 27th world title. Despite being with the Yankees for his entire seven years in the majors and being named MVP of their 27th World Series Championship, the Yankee front office declined to make Matsui an offer. Most pointed to the questionable health of Matsui's knees as the rationale for the Yankees letting him go. Matsui quietly signed a 1 year deal with the west coast Angels, while New York went in search of a replacement for Matsui's consistently clutch bat. Matsui batted .292 144HR and 597 RBI during his tenure with the Yankees including his last game in a Yankee uniform, Game 6 of the 2009 World Series, were he when 3-4 with 6 RBI and helped clench the franchise's first championship in nine years.
Four days after Matsui signed with the Angels, the Yankees signed oft-injured 31 year old journeyman Nick Johnson, as their everyday DH, to a one year $5.5 million dollar contract. Johnson came to the Yankees batting .270 90HR and 384 RBI during a eight year career that has spanned five teams.
Despite jumping out to solid start in 2010 hitting .270 4HR 13 RBI in April, Matsui has cooled down to a .231 avg with only 1HR and 9RBI in May so far.
Johnson has hit a dismal .167 so far this season with only 2HR and 8 RBI before being put on the DL on May 8 with an injured wrist.
Given their current performance, its interesting that the Yankees chose to turn their back on their reigning World Series MVP and offer a contract, for the same amount Matsui wanted, to a player like Johnson. If the Yankees' motivation was health concerns Johnson's track record of injuries certainly didn't reflect that. Only time will tell if Matsui makes them regret their decision.
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