The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league have signed Daisuke Matsuzaka, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. Terms of the agreement are not known.
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.