The New York Yankees kicked off their Asian World Series trophy tour in Tokyo and gave thanks to a former Yankee — World Series MVP Hideki Matsui, who signed with the Angels in the offseason. New York general Manager Brian Cashman admits that Matsui will be hard to replace, according to Reuters.
"I've had some successful signings in Japan, I've had some unsuccessful signings in Japan,” Cashman told Reuters. “Hideki Matsui will be one of the best deals I ever made.”
Cashman signed Matsui in 2003 and commended the former Yomiuri Giant but for his skills as a player.
"We did not sign Hideki Matsui because he was Japanese,” Cashman said. “We signed him because he was a true champion and one of the world's more gifted baseball players.”
Matsui, nicknamed "Godzilla," signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Angles, but his seven-year tenure with the Yankees will not be long-forgotten by New Yorkers. In his last season for the pinstripes, Matsui was the team’s designated hitter and batted .274 with 28 home runs and 90 RBIs. He hit 140 home runs in 916 career games with the Yankees.
"We will have future players from Japan on our roster,” Cashman said. “They will do everything in their power to try to help us win, but I doubt we'll find another Hideki Matsui."
The Yankees showcased the World Series Trophy with the Yomiuri Giants' Japan Series trophy.
Team president Randy Levine, Cashman and other team officials will continue the trophy tour in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, marking the first time it will be displayed in China. The six-day trip ends in Hong Kong on Friday.
The team officials will meet the China Baseball Association, which the MLB partnered with three years ago in an effort to build the game in Asia. There have also been discussions about the World Series champion someday playing the Japan Series champion.
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