ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 22: Pinch hitter Hideki Matsui #35 of the Tampa Bay Rays bats in the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners July 22, 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Seattle won 2 - 1. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
After a dismal weekend where the Rays lost two of three to the third-worst team in the American League, there are only three things to do: complain, moan, and writhe in agony. And judging from the comments in the game threads and recaps this weekend, we're already found a scapegoat to receive the majority of our frustration: Hideki Matsiu.
Matsui has seen a large share of playing time in recent weeks, and even though he's been a dud at the plate, he's still holding on to a roster spot thanks to the Rays' injury woes. He's so far managed to rack up 103 plate appearances, and the results are even to make you flinch: .147/.214/.221 for a .197 wOBA. He's been a remarkable 82 percent below average on offense, and when you combine that with below average defense, he's cost the Rays 1 WAR so far this season.
We all know that's bad, but just how bad is it? The Rays have had a number of offensive flubs in recent years -- there's always one, isn't there? -- so let's see how Matsiu stacks up against that crowd.
So Matsui may not be the worst in recent memory, but he's pretty darn close. Dan Johnson did redeem himself at the tail end of last season, and Brignac accrued a greater negative WAR total but in over 150 more plate appearances than Matsui. Through this lens, I have no problem rating Matsui as the greatest flop of the bunch...and considering the company, that's a pretty dubious title.
Think about it this way: remember how painful it was watching Pat Burrell and Hank Blalock back in 2010? Heck, many of us were glad to see those guys go, yet both of them would be a huge improvement over the current production from Matsui. Now that's impressive, and not in a good way.
If there's a silver lining, it's this: Matsui likely won't be around for much longer. Based on how the Rays have dealt with many of these other duds, the average time period before they make a switch is generally around 100-120 plate appearances. If a player isn't hitting, the Rays give them enough of a sample to get things turned around, but they won't wait indefinitely. Matsui's just over 100 plate appearances now, so if he's still on the Rays' roster in two weeks, someone will need to check that Andrew Friedman is still sane. The only question is, who do the Rays replace him with?
- Oh yeah, links. There were a number of trades over the last few days, and it's likely that things are only going to continue to heat up heading into the trade deadline. Check out the write-up over at BPro for a full breakdown of all the recent deals.
- Speaking of the trade deadline, should the Rays be buyers or sellers? Scott and Kevin debate on this week's Rays Prospects Podcast.
- Catching a baseball dropped from over 700 feet? Yeaaah, that's not for me.
- The Trade Value series is dow to the final five, and Evan Longoria still hasn't made an appearance. I was thinking he might take a tumble due to injury concerns, but if he's dropped at all, it's not by much.