The day after Hideki Matsui fractured his left wrist in a game against the Boston Red Sox, sports journalists waxed idiotic about how on earth the Yankees could recover after the loss of one of their best players. Betting pools were opened to see just how long it would take before Brian Cashman traded for Torii Hunter or Shannon Stewart or whoever the overrated outfielder flavor of the week was. Luckily, Cashman realized Matsui's talents were largely hyperbolized by the majority of a public that is still unashamedly in love with the RBI, and resisted the urge to make drastic changes to the Yankees roster.
Since Matsui's injury, not counting the game in which he got injured, the Yankees have only posted a record of 11-7, winning three of the five complete series they have played, losing one, and splitting the other. In the same time span, the Yankees' offense is rapidly approaching mediocrity, having managed a paltry 5.8 runs per game without the vaunted Hideki Matsui in the lineup.
The truth is Matsui is not the player public perception has billed him as. He is probably not even half the player the media likes to make him out to be. For all the accolades Matsui receives for his three seasons of 100+ RBI, the most contextual of baseball stats, his ability to drive in runs is more a testament of his teammates' ability to get on base before him than anything spectacular he is doing in the batter's box. In fact, last season Matsui led the majors in number of at-bats with runners on base, and in the two previous seasons he saw the third-most runners on base. As is the case with all counting statistics, durability is the key to amassing a large number, and durability just happens to be Matsui's calling card.