The return to Japan could mark the end of Matsuzaka’s major league career. The 34-year-old was originally signed by the Red Sox in 2007 for a total price of $103.11MM. That included a then-record $51.11MM posting fee and six-year, $52MM contract. His performance over eight major league seasons was a disappointment given the hype surrounding him. Over 790 and one-third innings, he posted a 4.45 ERA, 8.22 K/9, and 3.82 BB/9.
Matsuzaka drew early criticism when he struggled to adjust to the five man rotation. Injuries dogged him in Boston, where he eclipsed 200 innings pitched only once – his first season. He spent time with the Indians Triple-A affiliate in 2013 before moving on to the Mets. He experienced a modest resurgence as a swingman with New York, posting a 3.89 ERA, 8.42 K/9, and 5.40 BB/9 in nine starts and 25 relief appearances (83 and one-third innings). In Japan, he’ll be returning to a career 2.95 ERA in over 1,400 innings.