Daisuke Matsuzaka Rumors
The Nationals do not plan on making huge changes this offseason, reports Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. They will, of course, hire a new manager to replace the retiring Davey Johnson, and they'll also look for left-handed relief help, perhaps, as Comak suggests, from someone like J.P. Howell or Oliver Perez. Other than that, they're mostly happy with the roster they have. "But I think the team, as far as the core group, is set up pretty good. The core rotation and the core bullpen is set up pretty good," GM Mike Rizzo says. The Nationals could take a shot at someone like David Price of the Rays to improve their rotation, but that doesn't appear likely, given the cost it would take to get him. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- If the Mets want to contend in the NL East next year, they should think about dealing Zack Wheeler, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. For example, Martino suggests dealing Wheeler to the Rays in deal for Price might make sense if Price is willing to agree to a contract extension. Chris Sale of the White Sox might also be a possibility. Alternatively, Martino suggests the Mets could trade Wheeler for a hitter and then acquire Ervin Santana or Matt Garza as a free agent instead.
- Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is now represented by Mark Pieper and SFX, Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal writes (on Twitter). Scott Boras was Matsuzaka's previous agent. Matsuzaka posted a 4.42 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 in 38 2/3 innings for the Mets in 2013.
The Angels' apparent dysfunction seems to stretch back years, judging from a report by Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Miller reports that, in 2011, owner Arte Moreno threatened to fire then-GM Tony Reagins if he couldn't trade for outfielder Vernon Wells within 24 hours, effectively backing Reagins into a corner. That might partially explain the remarkable, and disastrous, result, which had the Angels taking on $81MM of the $86MM remaining on Wells' contract, while also giving up Mike Napoli in the process. The Jays, meanwhile, traded Napoli to the Rangers for Frank Francisco and cash.
Miller reports that Moreno's motivation for the Wells ultimatum was that he was upset that Texas had acquired Adrian Beltre weeks earlier. As a result, not only did the Angels take on $81MM in salary, they also set in motion a chain of events in which their division rivals also ended up with Napoli, who was one of the best hitters in baseball that season. Here are more notes from the AL West.
- The Rangers were interested in Daisuke Matsuzaka, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Matsuzaka, who had previously been released by the Indians, recently signed with the Mets, with whom, Heyman notes, he could receive more playing time.
- Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik still won't confirm recent reports that he has received an extension for 2014, MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets. Zduriencik does, however, say he's "raring to go" for 2014. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, meanwhile, tweets that there's "some debate" about whether team president Chuck Armstrong ever confirmed the extension.
The Mets have agreed to a Major League deal with right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The 32-year-old Matsuzaka, who asked for his release from the Indians on Tuesday, will go directly to the big leagues with New York, Heyman adds.
Matsuzaka, who is represented by Scott Boras, posted a 3.92 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 103 1/3 innings for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers this season. Prior to his release, he'd been particularly effective, pitching to a 2.17 ERA with a 39-to-8 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings in seven starts. The Mets have recently lost Jeremy Hefner and Jenrry Mejia to injuries, so taking a flier on Matsuzaka makes sense for GM Sandy Alderson.
We'll round out the evening with some links from around baseball:
- With a big night at the plate putting an exclamation point on his torrid run over August, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is drawing increased attention on the trade market, 1500ESPN.com's Darren Wolfson reports on Twitter. According to a source, the resurgent Yankees are "back in" on Morneau, which could also increase the pressure on the Orioles to make a move on the veteran slugger. The Yanks are now just one game back of Baltimore, though both clubs have significant ground to gain in both the AL East and Wild Card hunt.
- Recently-released pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka expects to link up with a new team shortly with the hopes of returning to the big leagues, tweets Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. In a series of tweets, Miller quotes Indians GM Chris Antonetti: "We didn't have an immediate opportunity. Dice-K was throwing well in Triple-A and thought he may have a better opportunity."
- One team that will not be in on Matsuzaka is the Brewers, reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. GM Doug Melvin did say that Dice-K's agent, Scott Boras, had reached out to Milwaukee. "I told Boras I didn't have a spot for him," said Melvin. "We already have six starters for September."
- Looking ahead at the first base position for the Red Sox in 2014, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says he expects the club to "stay in-house" rather than chasing a new player such as Jose Dariel Abreu. Cafardo opines that the club is most likely to shift Will Middlebrooks to first or employ a platoon of Daniel Nava and Mike Carp. Cafardo finds it less likely that Mike Napoli will be re-signed, but says a big September could lead the club in that direction.
- Mike Dee, the new president and CEO of the Padres, says that the club is poised to "invest more in the team moving forward," reports MLB.com's AJ Cassavell. Emphasizing that dealing with the team's less-than-perfect TV situation will be "a priority," Dee said that the baseball operations focus will be "to draft well and to develop [the team's] own talent." For his part, GM Josh Byrnes explained that more money did not just mean more big league spending: "Payroll is certainly part of it. But it's also investment spending, whether it's player development, medical or the international side; anything that we can do to give ourselves a better chance to produce talent."
The Indians have granted Daisuke Matsuzaka his unconditional release upon his request, the team announced on Twitter. Cleveland released Matsuzaka near the end of Spring Training, but he worked out a new minor league deal with the team shortly after.
The 32-year-old Matsuzaka posted a 3.92 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 103 1/3 innings for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers this season. He's been particularly effective over his past seven starts, pitching to a 2.17 ERA with a 39-to-8 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings.
This year marks Matsuzaka's first state-side season with an organization other than the Red Sox. Tommy John surgery and a back injury limited him to just 83 innings from 2011-12, and he missed more than a month at Triple-A with a forearm strain. His recent success and the fact that he asked for his release seem to suggest that he could find a Major League opportunity elsewhere.
The Indians re-signed pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Capps to minor league deals, according to a press release. The pair had been released recently so the team could avoid paying them $100K retention bonuses. It looks like they'll head to Columbus, providing the organization with veteran depth for the rotation and bullpen.
The Indians report (on Twitter) that they have released pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes (on Twitter) that the Indians will likely try to strike a new deal to keep Matsuzaka in the fold.
The Indians' rotation is expected to contain Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers, and Zach McAllister along with either Scott Kazmir or Carlos Carrasco. A calf injury caused Matsuzaka to fall behind in the team's rotation battle. The Indians informed Matsuzaka last week that he would not make the team, but he has said he intends to remain in the organization anyway.
Matsuzaka is an Article XX(B) free agent, so if the Indians had not released him, they would have had to pay a $100K retention bonus if he had accepted their minor-league assignment.
Matsuzaka posted an 8.28 ERA in 45 2/3 innings with the Red Sox in 2012, with 8.1 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. He signed a minor-league deal with the Indians in February.
The Indians have told Daisuke Matsuzaka and Matt Capps that they'd like to keep them in the organization, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Neither pitcher will make the team's Opening Day roster, but Matsuzaka said he intends to remain with the Indians, Hoynes reports. Meanwhile, Capps has yet to decide whether he’ll stay with the Indians or elect free agency.
Here are some more links for Monday...
- Free agent infielder Ryan Theriot is considering a new career path, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (on Twitter). Schulman hears that the 33-year-old is thinking of becoming an agent.
- Chris Carpenter doesn’t sound optimistic about pitching at the MLB level again, MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports (on Twitter). "I want to, but I don't think I can," Carpenter said, adding that he still feels numbness and weakness. His contract with the Cardinals expires after the 2013 season, and he’s not expected to pitch again.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Dan Martin of the New York Post that he's open to the possibility of acquiring another player before the regular season begins. Cashman also said that he considers the Brennan Boesch deal a low-risk, high-reward signing. "The only downside is wasting time and a small amount of money ... Nothing’s been promised to him at all.”
Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times expressed concern the Rays don't have enough power in their lineup to compete over the long haul. As if to add an exclamation point to Shelton's column, the Rays were stymied this afternoon by Jon Lester of the Red Sox, who was perfect for six innings (79 pitches, 53 for strikes) with six strikeouts. The Rays were on the verge of being the victim of a Spring Training perfect game until an infield single by non-roster invitee Jason Bourgeois with one out in the top of the ninth. In other American League news and notes:
- One solution to the Rays' power shortage could be Wil Myers, who was sent to Triple-A yesterday. Manager Joe Maddon told reporters, including the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin, that he believes the timing of Myers' recall will be a baseball decision and not based on service time considerations in order to avoid an extra year of arbitration eligibility.
- The Indians have yet to make a decision on Daisuke Matsuzaka even after a meeting this morning between manager Terry Francona and the front office, tweets the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Paul Hoynes. Francona could speak with Dice-K tomorrow.
- The Indians will approach Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley about contract extensions at some point this spring, writes Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
- The trade market for Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who will be a free agent after this season, is not good, tweets the Boston Herald's Scott Lauber.
- "The door's not locked. It may not even be cracked open, but it's not locked, either," a Red Sox source told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com about the chances of Jackie Bradley Jr. making the Opening Day roster.
- The Yankees only signed Brennan Boesch because he has minor league options remaining, according to ESPN's Buster Olney in his Insider blog (subscription required). Olney added, given the apparent lack of interest in Boesch, the Yankees might have the ability, if he struggles in the next few weeks, to get him through waivers, take him off the 40-man roster, and outright him to the minor leagues.
- The Angels have acquired minor league pitcher Mike Cisco from the Phillies for no compensation. Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com explains the Phillies had an excess of pitching in Double-A and Triple-A and they wanted to make sure he’d go somewhere he’d have an opportunity to pitch. The Angels liked him and have a spot for him in their system.
The Royals will approach their upcoming roster decisions with the goal of preserving "inventory," Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes. That means keeping as many players in the system as possible, which in turn means that players who are out of options will have a better chance of making the team, so the Royals don't risk losing them. The following players are out of options: Bruce Chen, Jarrod Dyson, Jeremy Guthrie, J.C. Gutierrez, Brett Hayes, Luke Hochevar, Elliot Johnson, George Kottaras, Luis Mendoza and Felipe Paulino. Hayes, Kottaras and Adam Moore are battling to back up Salvador Perez at catcher. Since Moore has an option, he will likely return to the minor leagues, and the Royals will choose between Hayes and Kottaras, keeping one while potentially trading or losing the other. The many teams currently on the lookout for catching help will presumably be watching the Royals' situation closely. Here are more notes from the American League.
- Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ is unhappy with the possibility of beginning the season in the bullpen or at Triple-A Buffalo, and he will "probably" speak to GM Alex Anthopoulos about it, CBSSports.com's Scott Miller reports. Happ got bumped from the Jays' rotation plans when they traded for Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey this offseason.
- Indians pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched three innings in a minor-league game on Saturday, but he's running out of time to make the team, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Matsuzaka left his previous start after one inning with a calf injury. Matsuzaka is a Type XX(B) free agent, so the Indians have to decide by March 26 whether to add him to their 25-man roster. If they don't, Matsuzaka can ask to be released, or can accept a minor-league assignment with a $100K retention bonus and an opt-out date of June 1. Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that the Indians will likely go with a rotation of Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers, Zach McAllister and Scott Kazmir, in which case Matsuzaka wouldn't make the team.
- Evan Longoria is aware of the big expectations associated with the six-year, $100MM contract extension he signed with the Rays in November, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "It's an insane number," says Longoria. "I feel the same way that I felt with the last contract, but there's just, I don't know if there could be more of a desire, but there is still obviously a strong, strong desire to live up to it."