Tuesday, January 22, 2008

23 Days, Days 23 Players: Hideki Matsui

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 27 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training, and 2 we believe should be on the active roster but won't be for one reason or another. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

Outfielder/DH Hideki Matsui

As Matsui has aged it has become increasingly apparent that he can no longer be an everyday outfielder. He should see increased time as a DH this season as Johnny Damon takes over more of the left field duties while Melky Cabrera becomes the regular center fielder. This could all change, however, if a trade for Johan Santana is culminated sending our young center fielder to Minnesota.

Matsui's name came up in trade rumors over the winter when it was reported that the Giants were interested in his services in order to replace the power lost by not resigning Barry Bonds. Always the class act, Matsui, through his agent, indicated that he would not use his no trade clause to block a trade, though he would want an extension if traded.

It will be interesting to see how Matsui's role develops this season. It is likely that he will play the remaining two years of his current contract in pinstripes. The question is, what will his role be when you have three everyday players (Matsui, Damon, and Posada) who could use more and more time at DH as they age while already having a regular DH in Jason Giambi? This will be quite the juggling act for Joe Girardi, and will certainly test his ability to handle the egos of the star athletes in this clubhouse.

Little Known Fact About Matsui:

Favorite ODB quote: Ooh baby I like it raw!
(in fairness, he thought it was a reference to sushi)

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