Daisuke Matsuzaka Rumors
The latest links from around MLB...
- The Indians are getting calls on Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs following their four-year deal with Michael Bourn, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Though the Indians currently plan to keep both Brantley and Stubbs, some people suspect Stubbs will be dealt.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka said part of the reason he signed with the Indians was the chance to compete against his former team, the Red Sox, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports (on Twitter).
- Andrew Bailey told Alex Speier of WEEI.com that he loves playing with the Red Sox, even if he's not the team's closer.
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi isn't sure if Andy Pettitte will retire after 2013, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports (Twitter links). "I think Andy still loves to compete," Girardi said, acknowledging that it’ll ultimately be up to the left-hander himself. Pettitte will celebrate his 41st birthday this summer and while he doesn’t seem ready to retire, he said he doesn’t intend to decide until after the 2013 season.
- Mariano Rivera said he has decided whether 2013 will be his final season, according to Curry (Twitter links). The Yankees closer won’t reveal his decision just yet, but will do so before the regular season begins.
- Homer Bailey said he and the Reds would prefer to avoid an arbitration hearing if possible, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports. “It’s kind of a slow process. We’ll see how it goes and go from there,” Bailey said. The right-hander has a hearing scheduled for Monday after filing for $5.8MM. The Reds, who recently avoided arbitration with Mat Latos and Shin-Soo Choo, offered $4.75MM.
The Indians announced that they have officially signed Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invitation. Matsuzaka will make a $1.5MM base salary if he makes the team, according to Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Matsuzaka, a Scott Boras client, can earn up to $4MM on the deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
The deal reunites the former Red Sox right-hander with manager Terry Francona. Matsuzaka has made just 18 big league starts over the last two seasons thanks to Tommy John surgery. For his six years in Boston, the Japanese import owns a 4.52 ERA with 8.2 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9. He also earned nearly $52MM as a member of the Red Sox.
Heyman first reported the sides had agreed to a deal (Twitter link).
- New York GM Sandy Alderson said the Mets will probably be done adding to their bullpen, assuming the deal with Lyon goes through, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports (Twitter links). The club had interest in a number of relievers as recently as last week, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork reported.
- Alderson sounds serious about pursuing free agent center fielder Michael Bourn, DiComo reports. However, the GM said the Mets could end up going to Spring Training with their current roster. The Mets have sincere interest in Bourn, but don't intend to forfeit the 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft to complete a deal with the Scott Boras client.
- One Mets official indicated to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that the team has no interest in Daisuke Matsuzaka (Twitter link). Cafardo reported yesterday that teams like the Astros and Mets were considering the possibility of bringing the free agent right-hander to camp.
Economist Andrew Zimbalist says Terry Francona's portrayal of the Red Sox ownership group in his new book gives an unfair representation of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino's level of investment in the team, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. “I think they’re all really smart. And I think they all really do love baseball, and I think they understand the intricacies of baseball,” said Zimbalist. “John Henry is a stats guy. John Henry brought Bill James to Boston — along with some other very good sabermetricians, by the way."
Here's the latest stories and headlines making news out of the AL and NL East Divisions...
- Former Mets prospect Scott Kazmir will attempt to make a return to the big leagues this season and believes he can regain the form that made him an All-Star with the Rays, writes Mark Hale of the New York Post.“If his velocity’s back and his confidence is back,” Kazmir’s former pitching coach with the Angels, Mike Butcher, said, “this guy still could be an impact in the major leagues.”
- Daisuke Matsuzaka remains on the Mets' radar as he could be an option for either the starting rotation or in the bullpen, write Matthew Cerrone and Michael Baron of MetsBlog.com. Matsuzaka, 32, just completed a six-year, $52MM contract with the Red Sox.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman celebrates 15 years in his current post with New York today, writes Richard Justice of MLB.com. The hiring of the former Catholic University second baseman in 1998 marked owner George Steinbrenner's 14th general manager in 25 years.
The Yankees will face an uphill battle if they attempt to void Alex Rodriguez's contract due to his alleged ties to a Miami PED clinic. The use of banned substances alone may not be enough to 86 a contract, but a former agent tells Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that they could try to prove there was fraud prior to the contract being signed. In that situation, the Bombers would try to show that A-Rod lied about taking PEDs and therefore the contract was agreed to under false pretenses. Here's more from today's column, with a heavy dose of news on current and former members of the Red Sox..
- There has been speculation that the Mets are trying to get MLB to allow them to keep their first-round pick if they sign Michael Bourn. According to a Mets source, they are still trying to determine whether they can get him to sign and they'll only go all out on the compensation issue if they determine that they can.
- A few teams contacted the Red Sox about left-hander Franklin Morales this winter and a few others are watching him closely in spring training. Teams are intrigued by Morales’s starting capability and are especially interested to see if he can consistently maintain his 96 mph fastball over a full outing. If Gio Gonzalez winds up being penalized for his alleged link to the PED clinic in Miami, Cafardo believes that the Nationals may be interested in Morales.
- Andrew Bailey is another Red Sox pitcher who will be watched by scouts. There are still teams out there who could use a closer like the Tigers and Mets and Boston might listen for the right return.
- A few teams are interested in signing Hideki Okajima to a minor league deal, but he hasn’t made up his mind yet. The left-hander was recently released by his Japanese team so that he could pursue a return to the majors.
- Teams like the Astros and Mets are kicking around the possibility of bringing Daisuke Matsuzaka to camp to see if he can recapture the form he had in his first two seasons in Boston. He could also head back to Japan if he doesn't feel that he has a good chance of making a big league roster. Last month, a Mets insider told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that he didn't believe the club reached out to Matsuzaka.
- Derek Lowe wants to be a starting pitcher, but it appears that he will have to go settle for being a swingman. The Mets and the Astros are possibilities.
Rafael Soriano recently agreed to a two-year, $28MM contract with the Nationals, obtaining the second-largest deal signed by an NL East team this winter. Within the division B.J. Upton’s $75MM guarantee with the Braves remains the only deal that surpasses Soriano’s $28MM agreement. Here are some links from the NL East, starting in Washington...
- Agents and GMs are assessing the present day value of Soriano’s deal at $11MM per season, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (on Twitter). Half of Soriano’s $14MM salary will be deferred each year.
- Washington has drafted well under GM Mike Rizzo, but trades have also played a vital role in transforming the Nationals into one of baseball's best teams, as Zachary Levine of Baseball Prospectus explains.
- One Mets insider told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork that he doesn’t believe the team has spoken to free agent starter Daisuke Matsuzaka “at all.” New York executives are looking to round out the team’s rotation, but not necessarily with the Japanese right-hander. Matsuzaka, 32, has interest in pitching for the Padres.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe looks at the best big league rosters as we head into 2013. The Nationals top the list as their addition of Denard Span in the leadoff spot made an already strong roster even more impressive. The Reds are second after adding Shin-Soo Choo to the fold. The Blue Jays are only in fifth after annexing a big chunk of the Marlins' roster and the Dodgers rank sixth despite having the highest payroll in baseball. Here's more from today's column..
- When asked if he thought there was any match on a Justin Upton deal with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers responded, “Probably not.” Upton would be a fit for the Red Sox, but it could mean giving up prospects such as Xander Bogaerts and Matt Barnes, as ESPN's Jim Bowden recently suggested. Upton is an underachieving player who has frustrated his bosses in Arizona and the Red Sox want something better for those prospects.
- The Marlins have put out word that Giancarlo Stanton is going nowhere, but that hasn’t stopped some teams from trying to put together a package to obtain him. A big league source says that's expected to continue. Teams have also called on righty Ricky Nolasco and the right package for him could net a team a decent starter.
- The Dodgers may jump in on Kyle Lohse, even with Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang slated for the back end of the rotation. The Tigers could also be a possibility as they listen on offers for Rick Porcello.
- People like Brett Myers and what he can bring either as a starter or reliever but he's still on the open market. “The feeling is he’s been asking for too much money,” said an NL GM. “I think teams are waiting for the price to come down. He can certainly help a team. I think a lot of teams have him on a wish list.”
- In his introductory presser, Cody Ross said that right field is his least favorite position. Cafardo theorizes that this could be the reason why the Red Sox wouldn't go beyond two years for him. Ross inked a three-year, $26MM contract with Arizona earlier this month.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka prefers to stay in the US, but Japan may not be out of the question, depending on what type of deal he gets. He likes the Padres, but so far there’s no indication that the feeling is mutual.
- Opinions are mixed on the potential of first baseman/outfielder Jerry Sands, who has been traded from the Dodgers to the Red Sox to the Pirates. “He’s one of those guys who could all of a sudden put up a big year if he gets the chance to play every day,” said one AL GM. “Don’t think he’ll be that effective off someone’s bench. He’s got to get into a rhythm at the plate and when he does, he can hit.”
- Hideki Matsui will likely manage the Yomiuri Giants someday, though for now it appears that he will live with his family in the US. The slugger announced his retirement in a press conference late last week.
The walls are coming in at spacious Petco Park this offseason, but that hasn't stopped one reclamation project pitcher from wanting to play there. Daisuke Matsuzaka has interest in pitching for the Padres next season according to Bill Center of The San Diego Union-Tribune, and money is not the biggest factor for the right-hander.
Matsuzaka, 32, pitched to an 8.28 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings this season after returning from Tommy John surgery. Center says the former Red Sox hurler seemed to enjoy both San Diego and Petco Park while playing there in the World Baseball Classic. The Padres reportedly have a list of starting pitchers they're targeting this offseason, but it's unclear if Dice-K is on it.
It's been a busy day in Boston as we learned earlier today that the Red Sox plan to dismiss Bobby Valentine after a turbulent season in which the club lost 90 games for the first time since 1966. Then in the afternoon, General Manager Ben Cherington told reporters that he has begun contract talks with both David Ortiz and Cody Ross. Here's more on what Cherington had to say to the press in advance of their season finale against the Yankees..
- Even though the Red Sox have begun working on new deals for Ortiz and Ross, they haven't done the same for other impending free agents, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, tweets Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal. Mike Axisa recently looked at the Japanese hurler's stock, concluding that it's hard to envision him nabbing more than a one-year, low-base salary deal.
- Cherington once again decline comment on this morning's report that Valentine will be dismissed, but he didn't exactly offer an endorsement of the skipper, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. "I'm not going to talk about it. We have a game tonight," said the GM.
- Cherington isn't sure if the Red Sox will contend in 2013 and wouldn't offer a timetable, but insists that they will get back to winning at some point, Lauber tweets.
- The GM acknowledged that he didn't do enough to "help stabilize" the starting rotation last winter, MacPherson tweets. Cherington went on to say that the team's struggles in 2012 could not simply be blamed on injuries (Twitter link).
Six years ago this month, Daisuke Matsuzaka was the best pitcher in the world not employed by an MLB team. He dominated Nippon Professional Baseball with the Seibu Lions, winning the league strikeout title four times from 2000-2006. The Lions posted him after 2006, and the Red Sox won his negotiating rights (for $51M+) and then signed him to a six-year contract (worth $52MM).
Things are much different now, as Dice-K is a few weeks away from becoming a free agent for the first time time in his career. He helped Boston win a World Series in 2007 and finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting in 2008 (18-3, 2.90 ERA), but things have gone downhill since. Matsuzaka pitched to a 5.76 ERA while missing considerable time with a groin injury in 2009. He stayed reasonably healthy in 2010 but pitched to a 4.69 ERA. After allowing 24 runs in his first 37 1/3 innings of 2011, Dice-K underwent Tommy John surgery.
Matsuzaka, 32, has posted a 7.14 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 40 1/3 innings this season since coming off the DL. All of the hype from 2006-2007 is gone, and that six-year contract expires after the season. It's been four years since Dice-K's last sub-4.50 ERA, five years since his last sub-4.0 BB/9, and five years since his last 200-inning season. He has said he would like to pitch until he's 40, though he'll head into this offseason as a reclamation project.
The starting pitching free agent market offers a number of reclamation types, including Colby Lewis, Erik Bedard, and Carl Pavano, all of whom are older than Matsuzaka. A move to a pitcher's park should help his numbers, as would a potential shift to the NL. There wasn't any interest in the right-hander when the Red Sox put him on waivers last month, but that's not surprising given his salary ($10MM). Agent Scott Boras has a way of finding better than expected contracts for his clients, but it's tough to see him getting Dice-K anything more than a one-year, low-base salary deal (with incentives) this winter.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.