Matsui officially a goner, signs with A's

Matsui officially a goner, signs with A's

ANAHEIM -- Hideki Matsui, the Angels' primary designated hitter in 2010, is a division rival now.

As expected, Matsui has agreed to a one-year free-agent contract for an estimated $7 million with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. The legendary slugger from Japan figures to replace Jack Cust as the primary DH for the A's, Cust having signed with the Seattle Mariners.

Signed to a one-year deal to essentially replace Vladimir Guerrero last winter, Matsui got off to a fast start, endured a midseason slump and then finished strong. He batted .274 in 145 games, finishing second to Torii Hunter on the club with 84 RBIs while launching 21 home runs, third on the team.

Matsui's .789 OPS was 10th best among AL designated hitters. Matsui, getting an occasional start in left field, did his best work offensively in the cleanup spot. His .507 slugging mark was ninth best among AL cleanup men.

Matsui was frustrated most by his struggles against left-handed pitchers, a team-wide affliction. He batted .236 against lefties compared to .289 against righties, slugging .421 against southpaws and .474 against right-handers.

"I think Hideki started off really well for us the first month of the season," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And as the season went on, I think physically he felt stronger. He was running much better.

"He really had two real downturns that lasted a while, [but] finished very strong for us. His numbers lined up about what we had projected them to be, although he maybe wasn't as consistent as we know he was with the Yankees. He still ended up very strong for us and did a good job."

Matsui, 36, was the 2009 World Series MVP for the Yankees. He has produced 161 home runs and 681 RBIs and is a .290 career hitter in eight Major League seasons, the first seven in the Bronx. He became a legend in Japan with his prowess as a young slugger with the Yomiuri Giants and remains one of the most popular figures in his homeland, bringing anywhere from 30 to 50 Japanese media members to chronicle his daily performances.

Scioscia prefers to keep the DH role open for a revolving group of players, as a way of giving regulars a day off their feet. Guerrero remains available in free agency after a terrific season in Texas, but the Rangers are considered the frontrunner for his services.

The Angels, coming up short in their efforts to land Carl Crawford, appear to have focused their attention on free agent Adrian Beltre, one of the game's premier third basemen.

The A's, in Scioscia's mind, are getting a first-class professional as well as a dangerous bat in the heart of their order in Matsui.

"I think Hideki showed one thing, and we saw it first hand, why he's been so successful so long," Scioscia said. "He's one of the most professional players you're ever going to meet. He has a passion for the game; he loves the game. He studies it."

Another former Angels player landed with a new club on Monday when pitcher Dustin Moseley, who gave the Yankees some important starts in 2010 while going 4-4 in 16 appearances, signed with the San Diego Padres.

Moseley is reunited with Bud Black, the 2010 National League Manager of the Year who was the Angels' pitching coach when Moseley broke in with the club in 2006.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.