Hideki Matsui and the Los Angeles Angels have reportedly agreed to a one-year contract, ending Matsui's seven-year run with the Yankees that included being named World Series Most Valuable Player last month.
Matsui batted .274 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs for the New York Yankees last season, then was selected World Series MVP despite starting only three of the six games against Philadelphia. He went 8 for 13 (.615) with three homers and eight RBIs, tying a Series record by driving in six runs in Game 6.
Matsui's agent, Arn Tellem, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press that they were in serious discussions with the Angels. Tellem declined further comment.
But The New York Timesreports that Matsui agreed with the Angels on Monday. The official was granted anonymity because the deal will not be announced until Matsui passes a physical exam.
Matsui will receive $6.5 million from the Angels, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Slowed by surgically repaired knees, the 35-year-old Matsui would replace Vladimir Guerrero as Los Angeles' primary designated hitter.
Matsui decided to take the Angels’ offer rather than wait and see if the Yankees would bring him back, the Times reported. It was probably a wise move by Matsui, because while the Yankees never closed the door to his return, they have been very wary of making a commitment.
Matsui has surpassed 100 RBIs four times in seven seasons with the Yankees after coming over from Japan, where he was an enormous star. He just completed a $52 million, four-year contract with New York.
Matsui and the Yankees beat Los Angeles in the AL championship series last season. The Angels have won three straight AL West titles and five of the past six, but haven't reached the World Series since winning the 2002 title.