Daisuke Matsuzaka Rumors
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.
The Red Sox recently placed right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka on revocable waivers, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). One general manager told Olney that Matsuzaka and Mark Buehrle might be available for little return.
Matsuzaka earns $10MM in 2012, the final season of his six-year, $52MM contract with the Red Sox. Just less than $2MM remains on his contract between now and the end of the season. In six starts for Boston this year he has posted a 5.10 ERA with 7.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9. He started against the Royals last night, allowing one unearned run, five hits and two walks in seven innings while striking out six.
The Red Sox have been particularly aggressive in placing players on waivers this summer (at least in terms of what has been reported relative to other teams). If Matsuzaka goes unclaimed, the Red Sox will be able to complete a trade just as easily as they could have before the current waiver period began at the beginning of August.
If a team claims Matsuzaka, the Red Sox will have three choices. They can let him (and his contract) go to the claiming team, they can complete a trade with the claiming team, or they can pull him back off of waivers. American League teams will have claiming priority on Matsuzaka.
- Michael Wuertz threw for 15 teams today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
- Roy Oswalt doesn’t expect to pitch in the Major Leagues before June, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports tweets. The Cardinals have uncertainty atop their rotation and other openings could emerge around the league, but the free agent right-hander seems content to wait for now.
- Ubaldo Jimenez explained to Yahoo's Jeff Passan that the disappointing ending to his tenure in Colorado wasn't related to money. “It’s not about the contract,” Jimenez said. “People are going to say that. They know what it is.” The Indians are optimistic that Jimenez will put together a healthy season reminiscent of his breakout 2010 campaign.
- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Daisuke Matsuzaka could join the rotation by early June, according to MLB.com's Ian Browne. The right-hander is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Red Sox ownership already spoke to the media this morning, so now let's check in the on the rest of the AL East...
- Orioles GM Dan Duquette wouldn't comment on the team's interest in Jorge Soler, telling Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com that tipping his hand wouldn't benefit the team. The O's watched the 19-year-old outfielder work out earlier this month.
- The Orioles lead all clubs with ten out of options players, and manager Buck Showalter told MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that he estimates they'll have to make "2-4 moves" before the end of camp (Twitter link).
- Daisuke Matsuzaka told WEEI.com's Rob Bradford that he still wants to pitch until he's 40. The right-hander is in the final year of his contract with the Red Sox, and is expected back from Tommy John surgery at midseason.
- “If I didn’t think that I was capable of playing the game at a high level I would go home," said Yankees captain Derek Jeter to reporters yesterday, including George King of The New York Post. "If I wasn’t enjoying myself or enjoying the competition I would go home. Right now I am an enjoying myself. I can’t comment on what would force me to retire because I have a lot of confidence and if that starts to waver I would do it."
- Joel Sherman of The New York Post wrote about Alex Rodriguez, wondering what kind of contract the Yankees third baseman would have received had he been a free agent his offseason.
Agent Scott Boras held court in Dallas tonight, providing updates on his many free agent clients and entertaining reporters with quips along the way. Here are the details:
- Boras made it clear that Prince Fielder has drawn lots of interest this offseason. The agent explained that Fielder compares favorably to all-time greats such as Jimmie Foxx and suggested teams will look to lock Fielder up for as long as possible if they recognize his potential as someone who can produce at the plate for the better part of a decade while boosting TV ratings and attendance (Boras' arguments, not mine). He played down concerns about Fielder's body, suggested he's just entering his prime and argued that comparable free agent power hitters won't be available any time soon.
- Fielder doesn't have any geographical preference as to where he signs, tweets Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star. Boras quipped that the distance from home plate to the outfield fence is the only geography concerning Fielder. For more on Fielder, click here.
- Generally speaking, Boras explained that Seattle and Milwaukee are desirable places to play because they have the potential to draw substantial crowds. He also said "the city [of Los Angeles] is waiting for the return of the Dodgers" and praised the Dodgers as a storied franchise in American sports.
- Johnny Damon played "very well" in 2011, according to Boras. He joked that 38-year-old is in line for a five-year deal, though a one-year contract is probable in reality. Boras half-jokingly suggested the Rays "have lots of money" despite their perennially low payrolls.
- Carlos Pena will likely have multiyear offers, Boras said.
- Asked if Kyle Lohse could waive his no-trade clause, Boras replied that he thinks Lohse is happy in St. Louis, tweets B.J. Rains of Fox Sports Midwest.
- The market for Ivan Rodriguez is narrowing, tweets Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. The Nationals aren't in on Pudge, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post.
- The Nats have some interest in bringing back Rick Ankiel, tweets Comak.
- Boras expects Daisuke Matsuzaka to be healthy and return "sometime this summer," tweets Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal.
- J.D. Drew is undecided on whether he'll play in 2012. It would have to be the right situation.
- Andruw Jones would've liked more playing time in 2011, but understands he won't be a full-time player, tweets MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. A deal with the Yankees is likely in the coming weeks, tweets Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
- The Braves haven't progressed toward an extension for Michael Bourn, tweets Stephen Goff of Examiner.com.
MLBTR's Luke Adams co-wrote this post.
A few items of note for Sunday afternoon. On this day in 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays selected Tim Beckham with the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
- ESPN's Adam Rubin shares a video interview with Jose Reyes in which the Mets shortstop says he doesn't think about the constant trade rumors surrounding him because all he can control is his on-field performance.
- Mike Pelfrey told Mark Hale of the New York Post that it would be tough for him as an individual, tough for the team, and tough for the fans to lose Reyes, whom he deems irreplaceable.
- MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch covers the additional lefty relief options the Pirates have in Triple-A, and says that if a roster move needs to be made in order to appease manager Clint Hurdle's desire for another southpaw, Jose Ascanio is the most likely to be designated for assignment.
- A Dodgers sale is not yet imminent, but Orel Hershiser has joined Steve Garvey and others, forming the Garvey-Hershiser Group, in hopes of bidding on the team should it be put up for sale by MLB, writes Jeff Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News. The Dodgers could be made for sale if Frank McCourt can't make the next payroll payments, according to Painter. Reports of Garvey's interest in purchasing the Dodgers first surfaced when MLB seized control of the team in April.
- Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, slated for Tommy John surgery this week, hopes to "come back to the game with the Red Sox uniform," writes Mike Petraglia of WEEI.com. Since it typically takes pitchers at least a calendar year to return from the surgery, Dice-K, whose six-year contract expires after 2012, may have played his last game for Boston and perhaps in MLB.
- The Phillies' debt situation is broken down by David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News in the wake of Friday's news that the Phils are one of nine teams in violation of MLB's debt service rules. The takeaway: The Phils are in relatively solid financial standing, as the franchise is paid off, with their current debt representing only a "momentary hiccup," writes Murphy.
It appears that the Diamondbacks will be among the most aggressive teams on the trade market this summer. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney has an update on another team preparing to make deals and other notes from around the league...
- The Marlins will also be among the most aggressive teams on the trade market, Olney reports. President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said this week that he believes in his team’s prospects and doesn’t see glaring holes on the Marlins.
- Olney points out that talent evaluators love high schooler Dylan Bundy and suggests the right-hander will be selected early on in Monday’s draft.
- It’s a reasonable guess that Daisuke Matsuzaka’s Red Sox career is over, according to Olney. The Red Sox probably didn’t get their money’s worth on their $103MM investment, but it's not like Matsuzaka's career numbers are bad (4.25 ERA, 622 2/3 innings, 8.2 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 10.4 WAR). The right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery.
- As Olney pointed out yesterday, the Mariners will have to monitor Michael Pineda’s workload this summer. Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik says they’ll watch Pineda’s pitch count and innings count with a common-sense approach, rather than a “hard and fast rule.”