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MLB Rumours Blog: Cardinals meet with Japanese LHP Matsui

Yuki Matsui Yuki Matsui - The Canadian Press

Here is a roundup of all the latest moves and rumours from around the league as teams focus on the offseason's other big names, following the signing of Shohei Ohtani and the trade of Juan Soto.

Cardinals Eyeing Yuki Matsui?

Left-handed relief pitcher Yuki Matsui, considered one of the best bullpen arms on the market, visited the Cardinals in St. Louis on Thursday, according to's Mark Feinsand.

The 28-year-old from Yokohama, Japan has spent his entire 10-year pro career with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Over 59 appearances in 2023, Matsui posted a 1.57 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 39 saves over 57.1 innings pitched. 

Matsui has a 2.43 ERA with 941 strikeouts and 236 saves over 704 innings pitched in 10 seasons with the Golden Eagles. He is a five-time NPB All-Star.


A Return to Pittsburgh for Andrew McCutchen?

It appears the Pittsburgh Pirates are nearing a reunion with franchise legend Andrew McCutchen.

According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, talks between the two sides have heated up in the past few days and a deal is expected to be completed by next week. 

The 37-year-old veteran outfielder returned to Pittsburgh for the 2023 season after five seasons away from the team, including stints with the San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers.

After signing a one-year, $5 million contract last January, McCutchen hit .256 with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs over 112 games last season, his 10th in Pittsburgh. 

McCutchen suffered a partially torn Achilles in early September that forced him out for the remainder of the season. 

During his first run with the Pirates from 2009-2017, McCutchen was named to five All-Star teams and was named the National League MVP in 2013 after hitting .317 with 21 homers, 84 RBIs and 27 stolen bases over 157 games. 

Hunter Renfroe, Michael Wacha to Kansas City

The Kansas City Royals have added some power to their lineup, signing Hunter Renfroe to a two-year, $13 million contract, according to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman. 

The 31-year-old outfielder hit .233 with 20 home runs and 60 RBIs alongside an .297 on-base percentage over 140 games split between the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds last season. 

Renfroe, a right-handed slugger who has hit 177 homer in eight MLB seasons, spent most of 2023 with the Angels, playing 126 games in Anaheim before the Reds claimed him off waivers in September. 

Additionally, free agent pitcher Michael Wacha has agreed to sign with the Royals on a two-year, $32 million contract, according to multiple reports. 

The 32-year-old righty posted a 14-4 record with a 3.22 ERA and 124 strikeouts over 24 starts with the San Diego Padres in 2023. 

This will be Wacha's sixth team in six years, including the St. Louis Cardinals in 2019, the New York Mets in 2020, the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, the Boston Red Sox in 2022 and the Padres in 2023. 

Wacha spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Cards. 

It's been a busy off-season for the Royals this winter, already signing pitchers Seth Lugo and Will Smith as well as utility man Garrett Hampson.