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Kazuo's Future

OlerudOwned
Aug 26 2005 01:04 PM

http://www.newsday.com/sports/printedition/ny-spmets264398668aug26,0,7371277.story?coll=ny-sports-print

Mets planning an exit strategy for Matsui
David Lennon
August 26, 2005

PHOENIX - Kaz Matsui had three hits Wednesday, stayed in a rundown so perfectly that two runs scored - and still found himself on the bench for last night's series finale against the Diamondbacks.

Is it any wonder, then, that the Mets' front office already is planning an offseason exit strategy for Matsui if a willing taker for at least half of his $8-million contract for 2006 can be found?

One team official scoffed at an ESPN report last week that had Matsui being claimed on waivers, which meant that another team would have been willing to take on the Japanese infielder's contract, currently among the worst in baseball. Matsui cleared waivers, with no team even nibbling for a potential trade, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The oft-injured Matsui has had a miserable time with the Mets, and moving to second base for this season hasn't been the remedy many thought it would be. Instead, Matsui lost his job to Miguel Cairo, who had been signed to be a bench player, and the Mets have no interest in keeping Matsui around next season as a substitute.

Although Matsui has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to be dealt only to the Yankees, Angels or Dodgers, the Mets believe he might be open to negotiation, especially if another team is thinking about giving him another try at shortstop. "I think he'll be a better player outside New York," one National League executive said.

There seems to be little doubt that Matsui would be happier elsewhere, though he won't admit it. It figured that he was the one drilled in the back by Tim Worrell in the eighth inning Wednesday, even if the player the Diamondbacks were furious at was Victor Diaz, who tagged up from second in a 17-0 game.

"You're going to have to ask them if it was intentional," Matsui said through his interpreter, "but it was right on the money."

It was typical of Matsui's star-crossed tour as a Met. Once again, wrong place, wrong time.



If we can get him more playing time right now, I say do it and give him his one final chance. Cairo isn't exactly setting the world on fire himself. But if he keeps playing like he has for the majority of his time here, I'm fully behind any move where we actually get something for him.

Elster88
Aug 26 2005 01:06 PM

I read that too, and I'm pretty sure it was written solely on the basis of Kaz not getting a start yesterday. Willie's recent comments directly contradict a lot of it. It should probably go in the "So You Think You're a Sportswriter" Thread. Stay away from Newsday. Bad news.

This post was paid for by the Friends of KazMat.

OlerudOwned
Aug 26 2005 01:10 PM

Elster88 wrote:
I read that too, and I'm pretty sure it was written solely on the basis of Kaz not getting a start yesterday. Willie's recent comments directly contradict a lot of it. It should probably go in the "So You Think You're a Sportswriter" Thread. Stay away from Newsday. Bad news.

This post was paid for by the Friends of KazMat.
Yeah, I always hear bad things about newsday. Even so, I don't see Miniya sitting on his hands with Kaz situation. If he doesn't play well, something's probably gonna happen.

Rotblatt
Aug 26 2005 01:33 PM

I STILL think Matsui can do well when healthy. I hope he goes all Mike Jacobs on the Giants and comes back to Shea for a hero's welcome.

Probably won't happen, but I think he just needs one good hot streak to get his confidence back up. Or should I say, cahnfidance?

And getting the fans off his back would help a lot too, IMO.

Anyway, with all that said, if he doesn't come around by the end of the season, we should absolutely try and trade him. Then we should figure out what went wrong--if it was scouting, inability to communicate with him, just a fluke or whatever--and make sure it never happens again.

Elster88
Aug 26 2005 01:36 PM

I'll agree with Rotty. I continually remind people, including myself, that he hit .272 last year with 32 doubles (tied for 25th all time as a Met single season mark) in only 114 games (projects to 42 doubles over 150 games).

And for some strange reason people have complained about his defense this year, while I think it has been average or better. (Actually, the reason probably is no stranger than people saw him suck at shortstop, and saw him make an error this year, so assumed he sucked at second too.)

Bret Sabermetric
Aug 26 2005 02:23 PM

Check out his fielding stats, and tell me how good he is then.

Elster88
Aug 26 2005 02:33 PM

.971, 7 errors in 50 starts. You're right. Not good. But I would argue not terrible.

I'm not into range factor and zone rating.

Bret Sabermetric
Aug 26 2005 02:35 PM

That's okay. They're not very much into Kaz, either.

Elster88
Aug 26 2005 02:37 PM

I don't have much of an argument here, I guess. His defense is bad. I'll just harp on how his offense was good a year ago and hope that makes an impact.

There's not much I can do to defend Kaz here. He hasn't been good overall, outside of a decent hitting performance a year ago. I'll just say that while we don't have a better option (and career backup Miggy is not a better option) then we should keep plugging Kaz in there.

Valadius
Aug 26 2005 02:46 PM

Now that we possibly might have first base sewn up with the Jake-Monster, our attention focuses on second base. We'll likely see Anderson Hernandez in September. Matsui needs to play well from here on out in order to stay here.

seawolf17
Aug 26 2005 03:04 PM

Why does everyone think we're going to see Anderson Hernandez or Chase Lambin or one of these kids at second base in September? It's not happening.

Here are the infielders on the 40:

18 Marlon Anderson
* 65 Aarom Baldiris
3 Miguel Cairo
* 6 Jeff Keppinger
25 Kazuo Matsui
* 16 Doug Mientkiewicz
35 Jose Offerman
7 Jose Reyes
4 Chris Woodward
5 David Wright

That's it. We'll probably see Keppinger come up and get twenty ABs, but unless one of these other guys is a six-year FA this winter, there's no reason to add anyone else to the 40 right now.

Rotblatt
Aug 26 2005 03:39 PM

We could make room for one of them by taking Offerman off the 40-man roster.

And Keppinger's on the DL--does that have any impact on the 40-man roster? Or would he have to be on the 60-day DL? He should be back sometime in September--sometime soon, even, although I haven't heard much about him lately.

MFS62
Aug 26 2005 03:58 PM

All players on the DL have to either be added to the 40 man roster or released by the time of the Rule V draft (December?).

Later