A’s To Bring Back Matsui In 2012?
By Joseph Lopez
According to multiple sources, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland Athletics may try to bring designated-hitter Hideki Matsui back for the 2012 season. The Chronicle also notes that there is a possibility that the A’s will open the 2012 season in Tokyo. If that should come to fruition, the A’s would face Seattle and the enormously popular Ichiro Suzuki in Tokyo.
A Matsui-Ichiro would definitely help sell a lot of tickets.
Matsui, who turned 37 earlier this season, has seen his numbers fall a bit compared to last season, and it’s becoming increasingly clear that his best days are probably behind him.
This season, Matsui has put together a .253/.324/.383 slash line with 12 HR and 71 RBIs in 135 games this year. Last year, while with the Angels, Matsui put together a .274/.361/.459 slash line with 21 HR and 84 RBIs in 145 games.
And in 2009, his final year with the Yankees, Matsui hit .274/.367/.509 with 28 HR and 90 RBIs in 142 games.
His power numbers have dropped considerably this year, with the veteran slugger tallying 12 home runs this year. And with five games remaining, that total should remain largely intact.
So, why would the A’s bring back the veteran for another go around next year?
Well, maybe the team feels Matsui still has something to offer. He is a proven veteran and is very valuable to have in the clubhouse, especially for the young A’s squad.
But, if the A’s do, in fact, manage to bring Matsui back next year, what does that mean for Chris Carter?
Carter, as most of you know, entered the season as one of Oakland’s top prospects. He’s crushed opposing pitchers in Triple-A, but he’s yet to prove himself on the big league level. Carter was once seen as Oakland’s future first baseman, but he’s been moved to the outfield, a position many feel Carter is unsuited for.
Oakland will enter the offseason with plenty of question marks, especially regarding Carter’s role with the 2012 squad. He’s best suited to fill Oakland’s DH spot, but if Matsui is back next year, I’d imagine Carter’s at-bats would be limited. In a way, bringing back Matsui would be evidence of Billy Beane turning his back on his youth movement.
Carter represents the future, while Matsui, an aging veteran, is sadly nearing the end of his career.
What do you think? Should the A’s bring back Matsui? Or does the team need to give some of its young talent a shot at playing big league baseball? Sound off below!