White Sox Interested in Hideki Matsui
If that sounds familiar to you, then you recall the winter of 2009 when Matsui, fresh off winning the World Series MVP, caught the eye of the White Sox before signing with the Angels for $6 million. Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune was able to confirm the team's interest, which both makes sense and makes you scratch your head.
It makes sense because the White Sox need a lefty bat and Kenny Williams has long been a fan of veteran hitters who seem to be on the downside of their careers. Sometimes that fetish pays off -- Jim Thome -- and sometimes it doesn't -- Ken Griffey, Manny Ramirez -- but nothing shakes Williams of his love for players with a similar resume as Matsui's.
The head-scratching part is that the White Sox eventually backed off on Matsui because they wanted a player who could do more than simply hold down the designated hitter spot. While Matsui did wind up playing 18 games in the outfield for the Angels, he is a much better fit as a designated hitter for the health of his body and your team's defense.
With Carlos Quentin, Juan Pierre and Alex Rios already in the fold, perhaps that versatility is less of an issue this time around. Then again, Pierre was terrible last year so it might be an even bigger factor. Williams and Ozzie Guillen are never the easiest guys to read around the poker table, so it is probably best just to take their interest in Matsui at face value.
Either way, Matsui's 2010 season shows that he can still help a team with his bat. His power suffered a bit with the move away from Yankee Stadium, but his OPS+ of 124 was his best since 2006 and his second half was outstanding. That bodes well for him going forward, be it in Chicago or somewhere else.