‘ML Challenge’ 236-save extraordinary finish, “I can not only finish but also start” praised…Yankees-Boston-Cubs etc. interested
Major League Baseball is interested in Yuki Matsui, 28, a left-handed reliever for the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball.
“Matsui informed Rakuten of his intention to exercise his overseas free agent rights on May 25,” Japanese media outlet Tokyo Sports reported on May 26. According to Rakuten President Masayuki Mori, he has a strong desire to challenge the major leagues.”
Matsui is one of Japan’s most dominant closers with a record of 25-46, 76 holds, 236 saves and a 2.40 ERA in 501 games (659⅔ innings). He also has plenty of national team experience, including the 2015 Premier12 and the 2017 and 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC). This season, he has been outstanding with a record of 2-3, 8-3, 39 saves and a 1.57 ERA in 59 games (57⅓ innings).
Matsui, who holds many records in Nippon Professional Baseball, including being the youngest player to reach 100 saves, the youngest player to reach 200 saves, and the first player in the Pacific League to record 30 saves in five consecutive seasons, 먹튀검증토토사이트 is at the end of his four-year contract with Rakuten. If he stays in Korea, he is expected to re-sign with Rakuten, but he is said to have a very strong desire to play in the major leagues.
There is no shortage of interest in Matsui in the major leagues. Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer even traveled to Japan to watch him during the season. With a fastball that tops out in the mid-100 mph range and a sharp slider and splitter, Matsui has the potential to be a top-notch closer in the major leagues.
According to Tokyo Sports, “Major League scouts who have watched Matsui have a good opinion of him. There are many who say, ‘He can be a starter as well as a closer. Major American media outlets have reported that Matsui is an elite closer with a high strikeout rate and that the Yankees, Boston, and Cubs are interested in him,” explaining that Matsui is well-regarded in the major leagues.
While Matsui is Japan’s leading closer, he is not without experience as a starter. In 2014, his rookie season, he went 4-8 with a 3.80 ERA in 27 games (116 innings), including 17 starts. He’s made the occasional start since then, including two starts in 2018 and 10 in 2020.
This winter’s major league free agent market hasn’t had many standouts. Shohei Ohtani (Angels), Cody Bellinger (Cubs), and Blake Snell (San Diego) are the only free agents expected to sign big contracts.
As a result, many major league clubs are eyeing the Asian market. This winter, Japan’s top ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix) and South Korea’s top hitter Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom) will try to make it to the majors by posting. Matsui, who is coming to the majors as a free agent, will be more cost-effective than Yamamoto, Lee, and others because he won’t need a posting fee.