Monday, December 14, 2009

Godzilla Goes West

Hideki Matsui has signed a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim worth approximately $6.5 million.

Matsui had played the last seven seasons for the New York Yankees culminating with the 2009 World Series MVP. During the 2009 Fall Classic, Matsui went 8 for 13 with 3 home runs and 8 RBI. Six of those RBI came during the clincher in Game 6. What a way to end his career with the Yankees.

Matsui will replace Vladimir Guerrero as the Angels' DH in 2010. He will also be reunited with former Yankees teammate Bobby Abreu who joined the club prior to this season.

Prior to signing with the Yankees before the 2003 season, Matsui was a superstar in Japan with the Yoimiuri Giants. In ten seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, he was a three time MVP of the Japanese Central League where he earned the nickname "Godzilla" for his prodigious power.

I think one of the reasons the 35-year-old Matsui signed with the Angels is because he will go head to head with the division rival Seattle Mariners led by Ichiro Suzuki Whereas the Yankees would play the Mariners half a dozen times a season, the Angels play the Mariners three times as much. Matsui and Ichiro are considered Japan's two great baseball icons and are noted for their contrasting hitting styles and personalities. The fact they will play against each other with greater frequency only will add to that rivalry especially if the AL West in 2010 is a fight between the Angels and the Mariners.

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