AP source: Matsui, Angels reach preliminary deal
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Hideki Matsui is headed west.
The World Series MVP and the Los Angeles Angels have reached a preliminary agreement on a one-year contract worth about $6.5 million, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the contract was not yet final.
“I can confirm that we are in serious discussions with the Angels,” Matsui’s agent, Arn Tellem, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
Tellem declined further comment.
Matsui 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 hit .274 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs 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.
Slowed by surgically repaired knees, the 35-year-old Matsui would replace Vladimir Guerrero as Los Angeles’ primary designated hitter. Guerrero, also hobbled by injuries, will turn 35 in February. Both sluggers are free agents.
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.
Matsui was among three key free agents on the Yankees. Left-hander Andy Pettitte agreed last week to an $11.75 million, one-year contract. Talks have stalled with left fielder Johnny Damon, whose agent wants more guaranteed years than the team is willing to offer.
AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum and Mike Fitzpatrick in New York contributed to this report.