The five-year deal is anticipated to be value $28 million and consists of opt-outs after 2026 and 2027, in addition to an harm clause that may convert the fifth yr of the contract right into a membership possibility, a supply instructed MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
Matsui posted a 2.40 ERA over 10 seasons in Japan with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. Throughout the previous three seasons, as he shifted to a one-inning aid function, he registered a 1.42 mark with 214 strikeouts in 152 innings pitched, making him probably the most dominant aid pitchers in NPB.
“Clearly an awesome monitor document of actually constant excellence,” mentioned Padres common supervisor A.J. Preller. “This nine- or 10-year run out of the bullpen, he’s been top-of-the-line closers within the recreation. … It’s three pitches — fastball, cut up, slider. He’s been simply very constant by way of getting outs, getting strikeouts.”
What are the Padres getting?
Matsui is definitely distinctive, in each his stature and his arsenal. An undersized left-hander at simply 5-foot-8 and 165 kilos, Matsui misses bats along with his plus splitter. He pairs it with a high-spin fastball that sits between 92-94 mph and tops out at 96. Matsui additionally provides a slider as a 3rd providing.
That combo helped Matsui strike out 32.4% of the batters he confronted final season. One level of concern, nevertheless, could also be Matsui’s penchant for walks. Even along with his stable 5.9% stroll price in 2023, his profession mark is 10.9%. (For reference, the MLB-average stroll price this previous season was 8.3%.)
Nonetheless, Matsui has been as dominant as any Japanese reliever for a lot of the previous decade. Omit his age-18 debut season, which contained Matsui’s solely 17 begins, and his profession ERA drops to 2.10. The 28-year-old Matsui was a multi-inning reliever for almost all of his NPB profession, however he has operated as a one-inning arm for the previous three seasons.
The place does Matsui match?
Powerful to say at this level, contemplating the Padres are virtually definitely destined so as to add extra pitching. However he’s no less than in line for a high-leverage function.
“Someplace on the again a part of the sport,” Preller mentioned, when requested for Matsui’s match. “We’ll see how the ‘pen unfolds and what different choices come up this offseason. However he’s a man that would pitch anyplace late within the recreation … a man that’s shook arms on the finish of video games as a more in-depth.”
When Josh Hader hit free agency, right-hander Robert Suarez was the interior favourite to fill the nearer emptiness. He and Matsui at the moment are the 2 likeliest candidates for that job, with Preller noting there’s been “nothing promised.” Different late-inning choices embrace Tom Cosgrove and Steven Wilson.
Maybe most notably, the Matsui addition balances the San Diego bullpen in a giant approach. With the departures of Hader, Tim Hill, Ray Kerr and Drew Pomeranz, Cosgrove was the one dependable left-handed possibility within the San Diego bullpen.
The place does the Padres’ bullpen stand?
Incomplete, nonetheless. With the addition of Matsui, the Padres have a basis consisting of Suarez, Matsui, Cosgrove, Wilson and Enyel De Los Santos, who arrived from Cleveland in the Scott Barlow trade.
They produce other choices who might compete for the ultimate 2-3 locations, together with swing males Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez, arrivals in the Soto deal.
However bullpens are unstable. For all of the success Cosgrove, Wilson and De Los Santos had final season, the Padres could be smart to proceed including to their setup combine.
Sure, the Padres might use one other reliever (or two). However the addition of Matsui arguably shifts their pitching focus again to the rotation.
On the entire, nevertheless, their most evident want stays within the outfield. With Soto and Trent Grisham off to New York, Fernando Tatis Jr. is the lone returning starter. José Azocar is a favourite for a bench spot, and No. 13 prospect Jakob Marsee, the Arizona Fall League MVP, might additionally compete for taking part in time.
However the Padres’ foremost objective this offseason needs to be buying an outfielder — ideally a lefty bopper who can break up their righty-heavy high half of the lineup.