Kaz

Tonight the Mets travel to Denver to take on the Rockies and second baseman Kaz Matsui, who missed the first series at Shea this year due to (what else) back spasms.

I just might be a softie but I’ve always felt bad for how poorly things went in New York for Matsui. The organization completely biffed the entire acquisition, unnecessarily installing him at shortstop while they already had a popular, accomplished and exciting incumbent there, then leaving Matsui at short to become a target of fan abuse when it was obvious he lacked the range of the man he displaced. Frequent injuries — a source of frustration for fans and his manager — followed and when it was clear that Jose Valentin was a better bet to serve out the year than Matsui the Mets anxiously shipped him to the Rockies, along with all the money they’d need to pay him, for washed-up reserve Eli Marrero.

Alas, Matsui’s good health has accompanied strong performance this year, as has a switch back to the No. 7 jersey he wore in Japan. (Here the Mets let Matsui have Jose Reyes’ position and batting-order slot but not his jersey). Matsui discusses his number, and other stuff in this interview with MLB.com.

Pertinent breakout:

You wore No. 7 in Japan, but it wasn’t available when you came to the U.S. You wore 25 with the Mets and 16 with the Rockies last season — in both cases, the digits added up to seven. Why No. 7?

When I became a professional in Japan, I liked 1, 3, 5 and 7. But 1, 3 and 5 were unavailable. The No. 7 at that point, a guy, Darin Jackson, went back to the U.S., so I told them I wanted his No. 7.

Is wearing your favorite number making you play better?

I don’t know about that. But I like No. 7.

In other Met news, Mike Pelfrey 34 was recalled yesterday, and lost again, when Jorge Sosa 29 hit the disabled list with a hamstring pull. Reports this morning made it seem likely that Oliver Perez 46 would miss a start this week too with back spasms, a scenario likely to result in the return of Jason Vargas 43 from the minors.

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One comment

  1. Jon Springer says:

    comments from old site

    Submitted by Jon Springer on Sun, 01/20/2008 – 11:30pm.
    And yet Darrin Jackson did not wear 7 in 1993 even though it was available, Jeff McKnight having abandoned it for points south and numbers varied.

    I share your dismay over the Kaz treatment in New York. But seeing him succeed in Denver makes me feel even worse.

    What an offseason that was. Vladimir Guerrero there for the taking at a discount and we grab a shortstop when we already had a budding star at the position. Several months later, it’s Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer splitting duties in right and, if I recall, a St. Lucie parking lot.

    Guerrero…he’s still pretty good. Probably the most undergriped non-move of this decade. Then again, we wind up with Beltran, a much needed organizational housecleaning and, fingers crossed, a sustained period of success. So maybe I’m the idiot.

    Comment by G-Fafif :: July 5, 2007 @ 11:29 pm | Edit This
    And 27 was available, since they hadn’t officially given it to Zeile.

    My theory on the 03-04 offseason (about which I have no proof):

    The Wilpons signed Kaz only because they thought he could generate enough new revenues to make up for the $40 million they’d just paid Cablevision to buy their rights back and launch SNY. Their eyes basically popped out of their heads when they saw the piles of cash the Yankees had made with YES and their Matsui and so felt compelled to rip them off.

    In order to get Matsui they had to make a lot of dumb promises they shouldn’t have and hurt Reyes’ pride so badly he forgets how to run.

    Duquette is given only limited $$ to fill the other holes at closer, right and center. He moves for a good center fielder first and goes for bargains elsewhere. Forced to explain the reluctance to bid on Vlad, he makes up something about his back.

    Comment by admin :: July 7, 2007 @ 9:22 pm | Edit This
    I certainly don’t think Vladdy Guerrero was… undergriped, but I may not know what that means.

    The theory of Mets behavior going into the 2004 season is solid but has some holes. I certain don’t think the back issue was made up, rather inflated as the Mets made their risk-reward measurements. The Yanks were in the market for a rightfielder also, but paid more for less in Gary Sheffield (significantly older, nothing much on defense, occasionally destructive personality), so I’ve got to think back concerns were a real factor in the Vladdy market, just over-factored by an investment-shy Mets team.

    Comment by Edgy DC :: July 11, 2007 @ 10:01 am | Edit This
    I, for one, still proudly wear my Matsui uniform tee. Too bad he (and all the Rockies, for that matter) beat us up so when we were in Denver.

    Comment by Dave :: July 13, 2007 @ 5:19 am | Edit This

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