The Chicago White Sox reportedly are back in touch with Hideki Matsui. Or so
say tweet two mainstream media "MLB insiders" -- Phil Rogers and Jon Heyman. The Sox also made a run at the 2009 World Series MVP last off-season, but Matsui wound up signing with the The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. And he had a decent year for them as their primary DH, hitting .274/.361/.459 (.820 OPS, .356 wOBA, 1.9 WAR).
Hideki made $6 million in 2010 and would presumably command a similar amount, though perhaps a bit less in 2011. After all, he is a year older -- he'll turn 37 in June -- and his power numbers did dip from the previous season. Investing in a player of his, shall we say, longevity may prompt some Sox fans to ask, "Why not just bring back Jim Thome?" Well, because Thome is older still: 40 to be exact, turning 41 in August 2011. Then again, Thome did outslug Matsui by a wide margin last season, though in far fewer plate appearances. (Also, the Twins seem likely to re-up Thome, who needs only 11 HR to hit the 600 mark for his career.)â†µ
Along with age and possibly salary demands, another roadblock to signing Matsui could be Ozzie Guillen. The Sox manager seems to have gotten hooked on the idea of using a rotating DH to give him more flexibility when filling out the lineup card, and Hideki really shouldn't be considered an outfielder any more. (He did make 17 starts in left field for the Angels last season). But GM Kenny Williams could potentially sway Ozzie's opinion with a gentle reminder about the value of a left-handed hitter who possesses excellent strike zone judgement and could still deliver 20+ bombs out of the DH spot.