[Note, I know this is old news. I deserve all the taunting associated with it. The Longo story just took precedence.]
Yesterday, Godzilla took the field with the Rays extended-spring team (these are minor leaguers that are not good enough for a full-season assignment so they stay in spring training purgatory until they can join a short-season team with this year’s draft class). He didn’t just get in a little work. He did everything that the minor leaguers did. That is a REALLY big deal. That tells me this is a guy that wants back into the show on his merits, not on his reputation.
Matsui’s presence can only make you wonder what the Rays are up to. Right? Why add a left-handed DH type when you already employ Luke Scott, Brandon Allen, Matt Joyce, and Carlos Pena? Can it just be for insurance? Maybe, but probably not. I think something else is at play.
I read a blog post a few days ago pointing out that the Rays offense is surging amidst a season in which offense is down around baseball. I’d link to the post (which I thought Dave Schoenfield wrote over on the big Sweet Spot blog) but I can’t find it. Assuming I’m not crazy and offense is really down across baseball, then the Matsui signing makes a ton of sense.
If offense is down, there are a lot of contenders that are going to be shopping for a bat. That is the perfect time to have a surplus of bats on one-year contracts. Right? That means Scott, Matsui (and possibly even Pena depending on the deal) are all available for teams outside the AL East to bolster their lineup before the deadline.
Sure, the Rays have a surplus of good pitching, but that isn’t going to bring a lot of return at the trade deadline in a year when everyone seems to be getting good performance from their pitchers. So, rather than sell the assets the Rays have low, they went out and acquired cheap assets that other teams might overpay for in a month.
That’s genius, right? I tip my cap to Andrew again.