Angels Sign Hideki Matsui

Of all the potential landing spots for Hideki Matsui, the Angels seemed unlikely. As one of the teams with wallets thick enough to afford a Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, their willingness to bow out and settle on Matsui seems fairly odd. The money (one-year, $6.5M) is similar to the deal signed by Bobby Abreu last off-season but the circumstances vary wildly. Nevertheless, the Angels have their replacement for Vladimir Guerrero.

Matsui will turn 36 in mid-June and bats from the left side of the plate. Over the last three seasons he’s posted wOBA of .368, .348, and .378. That 2009 mark wouldn’t seem the least bit suspicious if not for a .235 ISO. That marks a career best from Matsui and it happens to come the year he spent in the Yankees new wind-aided launching pad. The odds of him repeating such a display of pop are unlikely. Without adjusting for park, league, or age, a 5-4-3-2 regression has Matsui with a wOBA around .360 next year. That looks remarkably like a projection for Abreu and it’s an upgrade over Vlad’s 2009.

There are hints that Matsui will get a chance to play the field occasionally. That’s not going to cost the Angels much in terms of runs unless he’s playing the field quite often, which is something he did not at all in 2009. The more pressing concern might be health-related. Matsui has had some issues in the past staying healthy and their starters wouldn’t appear to be the most reliable options either. Barring some new additions, the Angels are looking at a starting outfield of Abreu (36), Torii Hunter (34), and Juan Rivera (31). I can’t think of too many outfields currently in place with an average age of 34 years as of late outside of the 2004 Giants and 2001 Yankees.

I’m not saying age is going to guarantee injury or that Abreu will lose a limb sometime soon, it’s just peculiar that the Angels went this route with their history of making a splash on the market and the chance to get younger.



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Lance
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Lance

The day that this happened (when Lackey, Halladay, etc. were signed/traded too) made me feel like the Yankees overslept that day or something.

I agree that it’s a strange acquisition for the Angels, given that the Mariners are really loading up for a run. Makes no difference to me though.

My only question is, what exactly is a 5-4-3-2 regression? I don’t remember ever hearing of that one.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.

Why does everybody assume the Yanks were asleep at the wheel? They struck last week, dealing for Granderson and locking up Pettitte. While I wanted them to land Cameron, I think it’s clear at this point that Cashman’s either going to see what shakes out of the market or he’s going stealth-mode on Matt Holliday. I certainly don’t think the Yankees were in on Lackey, and their offers for Doc were rebuffed. What else would you have them do?

Whartonite
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Whartonite

Kevin,
I didn’t mean to assume anything. It was a musing thought more than anything else, just because all of the players I considered them most likely to pursue were swept up in one day. I half-expected a Cashman-swoop somewhere, but it didn’t happen. That’s all. To answer the question of what I would have them do, however, I would have had them get in on Lackey and/or land Cameron (or make more of an effort), the two things you just acknowledged they didn’t do. The main guy I really wanted for them was Cameron because of the type of contract he got and the way he would indirectly help the pitching, even without Lackey. Lackey going to the Sox, however, gives them easily the best top three starters in baseball, so that wasn’t good to see either.

Michael,
I’m only familiar with the most basic regression techniques (going off to learn more next year, hopefully), but does that mean it’s based on 5x(most recent year) + 4x(year before that) … ?

Michael
Member

R.J.’s referring to a weighted 5-4-3-2 projection (with the heavier weights on the most recent seasons) and then a “regression to the mean” component, thus creating a Marcels-type projection for a player.

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