Report: Matsui Announces He's Signed With Mets

Japanese shortstop Kazuo Matsui has decided to join the New York Mets, agreeing to three-year deal worth $20 million on Monday.

"Last night, I thought about a lot of things and I narrowed it down to one team, and that team is the New York Mets," he said at a news conference at Narita International Airport to the Associated Press.

He said the other teams which expressed interest included the Anaheim Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees.

"The Mets made me feel most wanted," he said to the Associated Press. "I'm very excited to be going to New York and am looking forward to my first year as a major leaguer."

The 28-year-old switch-hitting shortstop hit .305 last season with 33 homers, 36 doubles, and 84 RBIs while with the Seibu Lions. He has spent his entire professional career with the Lions after they drafted him with the third pick in the 1994 draft.

In order to accommodate Matsui, Mets owner Fred Wilpon and general manager Jim Duquette took a trip to the Dominican Republic this past week where they met with Jose Reyes about making a shift to second base.

According to the owner, he was quite receptive.

"He understood the situation and said all the right things," Wilpon said to the New York Times. "He wants the team to be better. If that's the way to make the team better, or if Luis Castillo had been the way to make the team better, he wants to have fun and win. He was very much on board with whichever way things go."

After the 20-year-old was called up by the Mets, he proceeded to hit just .211 in June, but rebounded with a .330 mark in July and .355 in August before missing all of September with a severely sprained left ankle. His rookie campaign finished at .307 with 12 doubles, 4 triples, 5 homers, and 32 RBIs in 274 at bats.

You can e-mail baseball analyst Christopher Guy at CGGuy86@Yahoo.com

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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