Torii Hunter reached an agreement with the Angels on a five-year, $90 million contract on Wednesday night, which means the second big name is off the board, A-Rod being the first. For the Angels, it’s the second big move this week, as they traded Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox earlier for Jon Garland to help out their rotation. It will be interesting to see what this does to the Angel outfield, as they now have Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero, Gary Mathews Jr., and Garrett Anderson. One will have to shift to the DH role and I’m curious to see how that affects the ego of that person. Matthews appears to be the odd man out, from what I read, but I’d think that with the way Vlad runs, he should get the shift to the DH spot.
What this means for the Cubs – Not much, to be honest. The Cubs hadn’t been in the market this offseason for a centerfielder, as they seem content to go into the year with either Sam Fuld or Felix Pie manning that spot for them. It does mean that there is one less bat on the market, though, which makes Kosuke Fukudome a little more in demand for teams looking for outfield help.
If you think Japanese baseball, you have to think Seattle Mariners, and they made a pitch to Hiroki Kuroda, who many have rumored the Cubs to have been after over the past two offseason. Personally, I’m not all that excited about this kid. When you look at the influx of players from Asia, pitchers do not seem to have near as much success as the hitters. Look at some of the names that have come over. It’s hit or miss with the Asian pitchers.
Kaz Matsui remains on the Cubs radar, though I’ve seen a lot of talk lately that he’s close to a deal with the Houston Astros. Bruce Miles mentions that Hendry has Matsui on his radar to fill some of the need for left-handed hitting in the lineup. My guess is that if signed, Matsui would be the starting shortstop, with Ryan Theriot filling in as the middle infield utility role. The problem I have with signing Matsui is that he hasn’t done anything outside of Coors Field. When you look at his numbers with the Mets (.246 / .304 / .344) compared to his numbers at Coors (.348 / .403 / .486), it scares you. Even if you make the case that Matsui finally figured it out last year, and just happened to be playing for the Rockies, the numbers prove that to be incorrect. His home and away splits were as follows: (.330 / .381 / .482) at home versus (.249 / 304 / .333) away from Coors last year. I’d like to see the Cubs steer far away from Kaz Matsui and let Houston feel the pain of signing off of one year’s numbers.