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The Japnese Insider - Japanese data archive, daily game summaries and box scores. Original analysis. Links to the Japanese sites in English.

What is the latest you are hearing about Hideki Matsui and of course Kaz Matsui?

Hi I really enjoyed reading your articles and you seem quite knowledgeable about Japanese baseball. What is the latest you are hearing about Hideki Matsui and of course Kaz Matsui, all rumour, or is Hideki really going to be rented by the Yankees? Or the opposite rumour that he isn't going anywhere near MLB? I assume the musings of Kudoh won't go anywhere altho' looking at Jamie Moyer I wonder Looking forward to hearing from you. Hiro YamashiroToronto, Canada

Gary Garland's Response

Hi Hiro!

First, thank you for reading Baseball Guru.

To answer your question, it is still looking likely that Hideki Matsui will be in Yankee pinstripes next season. Now what the details of that are is still anyone's guess right now. As you say it could indeed be a so-called "rental isseki" (going to the Yankees for three or four years and then going right back to Yomiuri). Godzilla told the press yesterday that even if he doesn't win the Triple Crown (and indeed, it appears that Kosuke Fukudome is going to grab the batting title) it's not going to affect his decision about free agency.

Yomiuri is going to try to hold on to their slugger. Owner Tsuneo Watanabe says that he will pay a visit to the Matsui family home in Ishikawa Prefecture once the season is over to try to persuade his centerfielder to stay. But Matsui is also a huge Barry Bonds fan and likes the Yankees, so I still believe he is gone.

Kazuo Matsui's future is more uncertain. Right now, the opinion in the Japanese press is that he will wait until he is a free agent after next season before jumping. But the superstar shortstop, to me anyway, seems to be agonizing over the whole "should I go now" question ala Kazuhisa Ishii, so you could very well see him suddenly decide to come here this winter.

Kudoh is reportedly going to be back with Yomiuri next season, which is disappointing to me since I was hoping he would fill a big hole in the Mariners rotation.

Take care,

Gary Garland

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