Matsuzaka interested in minor league deal with Indians
January 17, 2013
According to a report in a Japanese newspaper, free agent right-handed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is considering a minor league offer from the Indians, Marlins and Mets. He could also return to Japan.
Matsuzaka, 32, was limited to 11 starts with the Red Sox last season and went 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA. In 45.2 innings he allowed 58 hits, 11 homers, 20 walks, and had 41 strikeouts. In six seasons with the Red Sox and 117 starts, he owns a career 50-37 record with a 4.52 ERA and has averaged close to a strikeout an inning.
Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery in June of 2011. He came back from the injury in June of last season but was limited the rest of the season. Now over 18 months removed from surgery, he is looking to prove he is 100% and can be an effective pitcher on a big league staff, though will have to prove so on a minor league deal.
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Matsuzaka would be an incredible buy-low option for the Tribe. Yes, on the surface he was largely ineffective last season, totaling an ERA north of 8.00 to go along with a 1 – 7 record and a -0.1 fWAR total.
However, the underlying skills are still very much present for the right-hander.
His career strikeout average, 8.20 K/9, is just slightly higher than last season’s total, 8.08 K/9. And similar with his walk rate, which, actually, was a touch better last year (3.94 BB/9 vs. 4.32 BB/9). His fastball velocity (90.9 mph) was only down less than one mile-per-hour from his career norms as well.
The reason why he struggled is fairly simple, really.
Bad luck. A tremendous amount of bad luck, actually.
His homerun rate (2.17 HR/9), homerun per fly ball (17.5%), batting average on balls in play (.336) and strand rate (57.9%) are all ridiculously out of whack from not only his typical numbers but from any player.
Matsuzaka is going to show a tremendous amount of improvement next year, barring any injury of course. And this is going to come from regression alone.
Finally, I know I’m going to be HIGHLY criticized for what I’m about to say. But I would be willing to bet that the difference in production from Brett Myers and Diasuke Matsuzaka would be a lot smaller than a lot of people would think. And, truthfully, it could be negligible.
Matsuzaka would be a low risk move, and if he pays off good, if doesn't...next...
had no idea people thought the previous post was serious...
we need to get this deal done!