Daily Archives: December 2, 2007

December 2, 2007

Astros Overpay for Recently Hot Matsui

From Astros.com:

HOUSTON — The Houston Astros announced on Sunday that the club has signed free-agent infielder Kazuo Matsui to a three-year, $16.5-million contract. The announcement was made by General Manager Ed Wade, following Matsui’s passed physical at The Methodist Hospital on Sunday morning.

The 32-year-old Matsui hit .288 with four home runs and 37 RBIs for Colorado in 2007. He also hit 24 doubles and six triples while stealing a career-best 32 bases and scoring a career-high 84 runs for the Rockies last season. Additionally, Matsui was one of only six switch-hitters in 2007 (Chone Figgins, Jose Reyes, Brian Roberts, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino) to record at least 30 extra-base hits and 30 stolen bases.

“Kaz is an ideal fit for our club,” said Wade. “He’s an outstanding defensive second baseman and is a perfect fit to hit second behind Michael Bourn. Kaz runs extremely well. He steals bases, moves runners and takes the extra base; he plays the game the right way. With he and Bourn at the top, followed by [Hunter] Pence, [Lance] Berkman and [Carlos] Lee, we should have a very potent offensive attack.”

In 375 career Major League games over four seasons with the New York Mets (2004-06) and Colorado (2006-07), Matsui has hit .272 (376-for-1,380) with 17 home runs, 131 RBIs, and 62 stolen bases. Matsui also hit .304 (14-for-46) with one home run during the Rockies’ National League Championship playoff run in 2007, including six RBIs and a .417 (5-for-12) average in the National League Division Series.

Matsui was originally signed by the New York Mets as a free agent on Dec. 17, 2003 and was acquired by Colorado from the Mets on June 9, 2006. He was born on Oct. 23, 1975 in Osaka, Japan, and played nine seasons for the Seibu Lions of the Japanese League from 1995-2003. During that time span, he hit .309 (1,433-for-4,638) with 150 home runs, 569 RBIs, and 306 stolen bases for Seibu. He earned Pacific League Most Valuable Player honors in 1998, and in 2002, he became only the eighth Japanese player since 1950 to hit .300 or higher with at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases (.332-36-87, 33 SB).

December 2, 2007

NLC Transactions 11/26-12/01

Welcome to Red Hot Mama. Or if you’ve been here before, welcome back. For the past few weeks we’ve been taking an opportunity on Sunday to summarize the player transactions that have taken place in the NL Central during the previous week. There’s something here for everybody this week, so regardless of which NLC team you’re rooting for, crack a beer or grab a coffee and relax while RHM’s Crack Hard Facts Staff fills you in on how your team’s GM earned (or squandered, depending on your point of view) his salary this week.

To keep this post from growing into an encyclopedia, I’ve linked the first use of a player’s name to his page on Baseball-Reference.com so you can easily look up their stats yourself. Just point and click. Same as using a Smith & Wesson, but with much less mess as a result: The stats pages will open in a new window.

On 11/26, the Cubs signed RHP Kerry Wood to a one-year, $4.2 million deal, thus mercifully ending the speculation about Wood coming to Cinci to play for Dusty Baker.

On 11/27, the Astros signed  RHP Doug Brocail in a move previously reported here on RHM. (Side note: ex-Reds C Chad Moeller and IF William Bergolla were among the free agents signed by Washington on this date as current Nationals (and former Reds) GM Jim Bowden continued his obsession with former Reds players.

On 11/28:

  • The Reds finalized their previously reported deal with closer Francisco “I’m Not Chad” Cordero.
  • The Astros signed OF Jose Cruz Jr., IFs Kevin Hooper and Tomas Perez and LHP Stephen Randolph to minor league deals with invitations to spring training.
  • The Brewers inked C Jason Kendall (son of Fred Kendall, who the Reds drafted in 1967) to a one-year contract that guarantees him $4.25 million this year. The lawyers must have had a field day with this one. Kendall can earn $1 million in performance bonuses next year: $100,000 for 110 games, $150,000 each for 120 and 130 games, $150,000 for 100 starts, $200,000 for 115 starts and $250,000 for 130 starts. The deal also includes a vesting option for 2009 that would become guaranteed at $4.25 million if Kendall starts 110 games next year, $4.35 million if he starts 120 games, and $4.6 million if he starts 130 games. In addition, any 2008 performance bonuses that Kendall earns based on games (but not starts) would be added to his 2009 base salary.
  • The Pirates lost LHP Shane Youman, who was claimed off waivers by the Phillies. They also outrighted RHP Josh Sharpless to Class AAA Indianapolis and released 1B Josh Phelps.

On 11/30, the Cardinals DFA’ed OF John Rodriguez. (not the same John Rodriguez who kicked around the Padres’ farm system for a few years back in the late 1990’s). They also signed IF Cesar Izturis to a one-year, $2.85 million contract to replace David Eckstein as their regular shortstop. In addition to his base salary, Izturis can earn $650,000 in performance bonuses: $100,000 each for 400 and 450 plate appearances, and $150,000 each for 500, 550 and 600 plate appearances.

This move raises the question of who is going to be the Redbirds’ leadoff hitter next year. It’s probably not going to be Izturis. OF Rick Ankiel and 2B Adam Kennedy are two possinbilities that come to mind, but compare their OBPs to Eckstein’s. Not surprisingly, fans in the Cardinals’ newsgroup on Usenet are not happy with this move. One fan posted, “I hate to jump on the Fire Mozeliak bandwagon so soon, but…”

Anyway, that’s it, you’re now up to date on the wheelings and dealings in the NLC for the past week!