Of course the biggest story of the night is that of the Astros deciding to part ways with Kaz Matsui, and purchased the contract of Round Rock SS Oswaldo Navarro.
"Obviously, it’s never easy to talk to a player at this point in the season about an unconditional release, particularly somebody who has conducted himself with the level of professionalism that Kaz has here. We had great respect for the way Kaz went about his business here. Unfortunately, this year and for parts of last year, his performance hasn’t been what we expected or what we saw when he hit .293 in 2008 for us."
"I’m just going to keep myself doing exercise and keep my body fresh. I could be on a great team with great fans, and I could play in an environment with good teammates and good fans in a good city. I had a really good time, and it was my pleasure."
Wade, on Navarro:
"Even though he’s been in pro ball for what seems like forever, he’s only 25 years old, so we think there’s an upside with Ozzie that we can take advantage of."
Matsui's level of awfulness not only led to his unemployment, but also his translator's - Yoshitaka Ono was relieved of his duties, as well.
There's lots of reaction to the Matsui release, so let's get that in here.
With Jeff Keppinger performing as well as he is and giving Brad Mills no reason to take him out of the lineup, there was really no justifiable reason to keep Kaz Matsui on the roster...Will this make the difference between the Astros contending or continuing to lose? Probably not. But it's a step, one that was necessary given the current state of the club.
Keppinger isn't the long-term answer at second, but he's certainly earned a shot now that Matsui is out of the picture. Matsui, although the utmost professional, will be viewed as a huge bust in Houston after signing a three-year $16.5-deal to replace Biggio. Matsui played well in 2008 but couldn't stay on the field. He played a career-high 132 games in 2009, but didn't play well. This year, he just looked like he was washed up.
In economic terms, the Astros' release of Kaz Matsui wasn't exactly just jettisoning a sunk cost, as real costs will involve Oswaldo Navarro's contract and whether or not a team picks up Matsui for the prorated minimum salary. But it was close.
Levine is absolutely correct, of course. Matsui signed a three-year, $15m contract with a $1.5m signing bonus. If we just count the $5m owed him over the 122 games left to play this season, the Astros will pay Matsui $3,765,408 to not be on the roster. And that's something I can handle.
There was just no reason to prolong this. With his .352 OPS, his OPS+ was -4. I don't think I've ever seen that. If you look at all of Ed Wade's moves, the worst one - even worse than the Tejada deal - was this Matsui signing. It didn't work out, and I just wish it had happened sooner.