Japanese Star Nobuhiro Matsuda to Stay in Japan

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For a brief moment all the talk about A.J. Preller and his international talent scouting was looking like it might pan out by signing Japanese third baseman Noburhiro Matsuda. Now that appears as if it will not happen.

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As noted by our own intrepid Mark Whelan and reported by Dennis Lin as well, according to reports out of Japan Matsuda will stay at home this coming season despite being pursued by the Padres and other major league suitors.

While Matsuda did come with some apprehension already being that he is 32 years old, it would have been a nice start for the Padres building more international talent in their organization and A.J. Preller specifically.

Matsuda was coming off of a career power year in Japan with 35 home runs though that same output would not be expected to repeat in Major League Baseball. Whether he would even be able to make the jump directly was another question mark hanging over the deal as well. If he didn’t – would we really expect much out of a 33 year old MLB rookie?

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Last year the big international free agent target for the Padres was Yasmany Tomas who ended up signing with Arizona to mixed results. He was noted as overweight from the get-go, and started the year in the minor leagues. When he did play more regularly he showed his skill with the bat, though his power numbers never really developed and he was benched near the end of the season with Arizona’s talented outfield corps and Tomas’ poor third base defense.

Signing Matusda certainly would have opened up the Padres to that same risk, so perhaps this once again is a blessing in disguise. Maybe A.J. has a deeper pool of international talent we don’t know about, or is having to cultivate all other since leaving Texas. All we know for now is that we missed this one.

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