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Tag:Daisuke Matsuzaka
Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:57 pm
 

Red Sox 'unlikely' to add starter before spring

Ben CheringtonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt are still looking for a new home -- and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he doesn't expect it to be in Boston.

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"We won't rule out adding a starter, but I think it's unlikely at this point," Cherington said during a taping of a NESN Hot Stove special (via the Boston Herald). "We're going to keep looking for ways to improve the team, including the pitching staff, but I wouldn't expect any major changes between now and the report date."

Now, not to say anything bad about Cherington, or to suggest he's being anything less than truthful, but these things can always change. Even Cherington noted that while he expects the Red Sox to go into spring with Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz as the three definite members of the rotation, the team could add a starter during spring training or during the season. Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves will go into spring trying to transition into starters and the team has also taken flyers on Vicente Padilla, Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva.

"We know that teams evolve," Cherington said (via the Providence Journal). "That doesn't mean you don't want to go into spring training with every position perfect and the team filled out, because optimally you would. That's never the case.

"The Cardinals are the obvious recent example of a team [evolving], but you can't count on that. You can't count on that and end up in the same spot they did. All we can do, we have the guys we have now and we'll keep looking for ways to add to that group and we don't know when those opportunities are going to come. We're confident that the group we have has a chance to be really good, and we'll do everything we can to add to that if there are opportunities."

The Red Sox could get Daisuke Matsuzaka back by midseason and also make a move at the trade deadline.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 6:32 pm
 

Darvish much better than past imported pitchers



By Matt Snyder


With Yu Darvish soon headed to America, the standard generalization from many seems to be that we have to lump him in with the other starting pitchers who have come over from Japan. Hideo Nomo and Daisuke Matsuzaka had good starts but didn't sustain it long-term (though Dice-K still has a chance to change that and Nomo had a very good year for the Dodgers late in his career) while Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa were unmitigated busts.

As unfair as it is to assume all pitchers coming over from Japan will be a bust based upon four cases -- and it's incredibly unfair -- it's even more unfair to assume everyone coming over is created equally. Look at the position players: Hideki Matsui and Ichiro Suzuki panned out while a decent amount of position players have failed to meet expectations. We need to judge every player on an individual basis.

With that in mind, here's a chart comparing Darvish's Nippon Professional Baseball stats with the four previous big-name starting pitchers to come to Major League Baseball. I used only the pitchers' last five seasons in Japan, as Darvish has only been in the league for five years. Also, I was unable to find hits allowed in every season for all pitchers so unfortunately we had to leave WHIP off the chart. I can tell you with much confidence, however, that Darvish's career 0.89 WHIP would have dwarfed the respective marks posted by the other four here.

Pitcher Years W-L IP ERA K/9
Hideo Nomo
1990-94 78-46 1051.1 3.13 10.3
Hideki Irabu
1992-96 46-39 787 2.87 9.8
Daisuke Matsuzaka
2002-06 63-33 814.2 2.62 9.3
Kei Igawa
2002-06 75-43 997.1 3.14 8.6
Yu Darvish
2007-11 76-28 1024.1 1.72 9.5

Seriously, just look at the ERA, winning percentage -- and again keep in mind his WHIP is greater by a large margin -- and ask yourself if you really want to use how those first four fared in America as a fair baseline for how the 6-foot-5 Darvish will translate. He's obviously been the much greater pitcher in Japan, so it's not fair to believe he's Fat Toad 2.0 ... or even Dice-K 2.0. Darvish is better than each of these four ever was. Period.

Sources: The Baseball Cube, JapaneseBallplayers.com, Sports Nippon and Baseball-Reference.com.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 11:48 pm
 

Checking in on past products of posting system



By Matt Snyder


With Yu Darvish having been posted and the deadline to submit bids having passed, we now wait in anxious anticipation to see which team wins the honor to negotiate with the 6-foot-5 right-hander. Due to some of the past failures within the system, there seems to be a certain amount of stigma attached to paying so much money just to negotiate with a player. Let's check out the players who signed major-league contracts after going through the posting system and see how they fared.

Before we get to the players, though, let's clarify a few things. First of all, the posting system didn't begin until December of 1998. So Hideo Nomo, for example, was never posted. Also, not every single Japanese import since 1998 went through the system, either. Players who get to free agency in Japan become international free agents -- this is the route Hideki Matsui and Kosuke Fukudome, to name two, have taken. International free agents can sign with whatever MLB team they wish and have no posting fee paid to their former teams. And some players went through the posting system and either ended up signing minor-league contracts or not signing at all.

The following eight players did go through the posting process prior to last season and end up with a major-league contract. Let's look at each, chronologically.

(player, year posted, winning team, posting fee paid -- which does not include player salary)

Ichiro Suzuki, 2000, Mariners, $13.125 million
The 10-time All-Star won the MVP his first season in America. He's led the league in hits seven times and sports a career average of .326. He's become a franchise icon and could be headed to the Hall of Fame despite not playing in America until he was 27. So, yeah, this one worked out just fine.

Kaz Ishii, 2002, Dodgers, $11.26 million
The left-handed pitcher lasted just four seasons, with control being a major problem. Ishii led the majors with 106 walks his rookie year and then offered up 101 and 98, respectively the next two seasons. He ended with a 39-34 record, 4.44 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in his MLB career.

Akinori Otsuka, 2003, Padres, $300,000
This couldn't have turned out much better for the Padres. Not only did Otsuka post a sparkling 1.75 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 87 strikeouts in 77 1/3 innings in 2004, but he was also a valuable member of the 2005 playoff NL West champs. Then, the Padres traded him to the Rangers with Adam Eaton in a move that landed both Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young (the pitcher). That's a pretty nice return for originally posting less than the current league minimum salary.

Shinji Mori, 2005, Rays, $750,000
The relief pitcher tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder and missed all of the 2006 season. He was then released by the Rays and returned to Japan, having never appeared in a major-league game.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, 2006, Red Sox, $51,111,111.11
Yes, "Dice-K" has been awful for the past three seasons and is now trying to recover from an injury. He might never be a valuable member of a rotation again, but he's still only 31 and did produce for two seasons. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting in 2007, also pitching well in winning Game 3 of the World Series (which the Red Sox would sweep). Then in 2008, Dice-K went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA and finished fourth in AL Cy Young voting. So, yeah, he's been really bad the past three years, but to call him a complete and utter bust would be a stretch. Over the duration of his deal, he's definitely been way overpaid, but was still valuable for two seasons.

Darvish Posting
Akinori Iwamura, 2006, Rays, $4.5 million
He was helpful for two seasons for the Rays, including when he was the starting second baseman on the 2008 American League champions. He hit .281 with a .354 on-base percentage during his Rays' career, but he lost his job in 2009 to Ben Zobrist and then fizzled in 2010 for both the Pirates and A's. Iwamura was released by the A's at the end of the season.

Kei Igawa, 2006, Yankees, $26,000,194
If you want to find a colossal waste of money in the posting system attached to a gigantic bust, this is the guy you're looking for. He's far more a "bust" than Dice-K. In 16 major-league appearances, Igawa went 2-4 with a 6.66 ERA (which just looks eerie, no?) and 1.76 WHIP. And get this, Igawa hadn't pitched in the majors since 2008, yet still made $4 million from the Yankees this past season as he played out the duration of his five-year contract. The left-handed pitcher appeared in four Triple-A games and 16 Double-A games. And the Yankees paid more than $45 million total for him. Wow.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2010, Twins, $5.329 million
It was a season to forget for the skinny middle infielder. Nishioka broke his leg during the first series as Nick Swisher took him out on a potential double-play turn. When Nishioka healed up and came back, he was one of the worst offensive players in the majors, hitting .226/.278/.249. He was so bad, in fact, that the Twins went out and signed Jamey Carroll to be the everyday shortstop while Alexi Casilla will play second. So the posting fee and $9.25 million contract (which is a three-year deal) is for a backup that they definitely never want stepping in the box for any important at-bats. That's money not-very-well spent.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Boston Red Sox



By Matt Snyder


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

One of the main reasons we came up with this exercise was because of the massive amount of fighting in the comments sections over who "buys" their teams instead of drafting and developing their own talent. In some cases, the accusations are true. In others, they aren't. While these Red Sox don't have Adrian Gonzalez or David Ortiz or Josh Beckett, you'll certainly see several key, familiar names.

Lineup

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
4. Hanley Ramirez, DH
5. David Murphy, LF
6. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
7. Jed Lowrie, SS
8. Kelly Shoppach, C
9. Josh Reddick, RF

Starting Rotation

1. Jon Lester
2. Clay Buchholz
3. Justin Masterson
4. Anibal Sanchez
5. Carl Pavano

Bullpen

Closer - Jonathan Papelbon
Set up - Daniel Bard, Rafael Betancourt, Frank Francisco, Hideki Okajima
Long - Kyle Weiland, Daisuke Matsuzaka? (Not sure I could stomach that ... )

Notable Bench Players

Ryan Lavarnway, Lars Anderson, Freddy Sanchez, Engel Beltre

What's Good?

The top of the order is sick. If Hanley Ramirez had one of his good years, that's a top four that few in baseball could match. The entire pitching staff is really, really strong, too. Lester as an ace works fine and Masterson and Sanchez are pretty darn good in those slots. There was one point last season (May) when Sanchez was almost as good as anyone. Then you move into the bullpen and the back-end is what it was in 2011, with Bard and Papelbon. Here, though, we get to add Betancourt and Francisco to the mix. That's quite a bridge to Papelbon, and remember, this with a good rotation.

What's Not?

The lineup thins out quickly. It's not awful by any stretch, because Lowrie, Shoppach and Reddick are a decent 7-9, but Murphy isn't good enough to be a fifth hitter in a great lineup and we still can't be sure how Rizzo pans out. Also, there is no depth, either on the bench or in the bullpen. The onus is entirely on the main guys to shoulder the entire workload.

Comparison to real 2011

Let's avoid all the off-field crap and just focus on the issue at hand. Is this team better than the one that was in the AL playoff race until the final out of the season? The offense isn't as good, that's for sure. Most of the other spots are at least close, but the Rizzo/Gonzalez gap at first base is gigantic. Pitching-wise, though, this group is better, top to bottom. There's no Josh Beckett, but there also isn't a full season of John Lackey with mixed in Dice-K and then the spare-part injury replacements they had to use for most of the season. The real-life Red Sox won 90 games and this group feels like a similar one in terms of wins. It's not elite, but it's pretty good.

Next: Detroit Tigers

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Posted on: June 3, 2011 11:28 pm
 

Matsuzaka officially having Tommy John surgery

MatsuzakaBy Evan Brunell

It's finally official. Daisuke Matsuzaka will have Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the season, manager Terry Francona confirmed to the Boston Herald.

Dr. Lewis Yocum of the Angels will perform the surgery after Matsuzaka consulted Yocum for a second opinion and further doctors in Japan, apparently deciding to have the surgery before meeting with the Red Sox. That meeting has now happened.

Matsuzaka has a shot to return during the second half of next season, but the heavy sentiment seems to be that he won't do so as both sides are essentially finished with each other. But Matsuzaka still has the chance of being a solid pitcher, and even just two months of that can be valuable for a team. As we all know, you can never have too much pitching. If Dice-K is on track in his rehab, they won't hesitate to get him into rehab games.

Still, it's possible he could be finished with baseball in America. If so, he'll end his stateside career with a 49-30 record and 4.25 ERA in 622 2/3 innings. However, 60 percent of those innings came from 2007-08, when he went 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA in 61 starts. In the three seasons since, he's battled ineffectiveness and injury en route to 44 starts and one extra-inning relief appearance, tossing up a 5.03 ERA.

what we asked him to do." For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 3, 2011 7:44 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2011 8:05 pm
 

Gammons: Matsuzaka doesn't trust people

Matsuzaka

By Evan Brunell


Peter Gammos appeared on WEEI Friday to speak about a host of topics, namely Daisuke Matsuzaka, whom the iconic sportswriter said will probably never pitch again for the Red Sox.

“The player’s made up his mind he’s going to have Tommy John surgery,” Gammons said. “And if that’s the case, it’s a minimum of 15 months, so what are we talking about, August? He’s not coming back August to September next year. He’s going to go to Japan. His contract’s up at the end of next year. He can go back to Japan.”

The fact that Dice-K may go back to Japan is interesting, but it appears as if Matsuzaka just doesn't work in the United States. He chafes under the American way of baseball, ranging from the way Boston wants him to exercise to not being able to rack up pitch counts, trying to nibble instead of attack. The list goes on. Leading up to the recent decision to have Tommy John surgery, there have been constant clashes and communication issues that could all be borne out of the fact that Matsuzaka "doesn't trust people," as Dice-K's agent told Gammons.

"It’s very hard to build up a relationship with a franchise if a guy doesn’t trust them," Gammons added. "I don’t think he really made a great effort to adjust to this culture. I think that was one of the problems, the communication and the adjustment to the culture, which he didn’t really go in for."

If Matsuzaka never pitches in the MLB again, which appears probable, he'll leave behind failed expectations after a shocking $51.1 million posting fee and hoopla that ranked him as one of the best Japanese pitchers to ever play.

"I think at times he was a pretty good pitcher, his first two years," Gammons noted of Matsuzaka, who went a combined 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA in 61 starts in 2007 and 2008, earning a World Series ring his first season. "But in the end, in terms of a six-year deal, they got about one-third of it out of him. He never performed as well as the expectations surrounding him."

"The expectations and the reality were a couple hundred miles apart."

And now, if and when Matsuzaka goes back to Japan, he'll be thousands of miles from where he was supposed to become a legend.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 2, 2011 9:56 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 10:33 pm
 

Is it OK to be happy when a player is injured?

Matsuzaka

By Evan Brunell


The fact that Daisuke Matsuzaka may never throw a pitch again for the Red Sox is a tough blow to a team that was hoping Matsuzaka could return to the talent that saw him as a big cog in the rotation in 2007 and '08. But throughout the process of Dice-K's injury and eventual decision to have Tommy John surgery, the odds of finding a Red Sox fan who was disappointed in the news is akin to the odds Dusty Baker ever joins Twitter.

That brings up a sensitive question -- is it OK to be happy when a baseball player is injured?

In short: Yes.

Now it's time for the caveats. No one should ever wish that someone actually gets hurt. The fact that Matsuzaka has to deal with a bum elbow and will need to go under the knife is terrible. His livelihood and health are at risk, just like Posey is struggling with his broken leg.

But if Matsuzaka had been optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, the same amount of relief Red Sox fans felt would still have applied. If Boston had traded Dice-K away, it would still have been seen as welcome news. And if and when Matsuzaka finally leaves the Red Sox organization next season, not many people will shed a tear. What all these scenarios have in common is not the means, but the end, to trot out a cliche. It's irrelevant why Matsuzaka is no longer pitching, only that he is. Red Sox fans are happy that he's no longer pitching because he's been a lousy pitcher for over two years now, not because he needs to undergo Tommy John surgery.

Does that mean Red Sox fans everywhere were wishing for injury to Dice-K to get him out of Boston's hair? No. (Well, I suppose there may be a few, but we're talking the lunatic fringe here.) But they sure were wishing that Matsuzaka just didn't pitch anymore. Baseball players have a tough battle: they want to be perceived as human beings but all too often are viewed as robots -- a cog in a machine. The explosion of fantasy baseball hasn't helped matters, as players are now reduced to the basest of Xs and Os. That's because, at the end of the day, fans and the front office demand results. No matter how gregarious one may be or invaluable to an organization -- whether that's a baseball club or the company that writes your checks -- if you stop being productive, you will be fired.

When David Ortiz slumped badly two seasons ago and last season to start the season, he couldn't understand why many were calling for his benching despite what he had done for the team and how much he meant (and still means) to the fanbase. What he didn't understand was that the fans' affection for Ortiz wasn't -- and shouldn't -- impact the fact that he simply wasn't producing at the time, and there was serious question as to if he ever would again. Every season, there's articles written about aging stars whose time has passed and how it's time for them to ride into the sunset -- and when it happens, there's a sense of relief.

Ken Griffey, Jr., was actively harming the Mariners last season in his attempt to stretch out his season once more. How his career then ended with NapGate and hopping into his car and driving off without informing the team is unfortunate, but no one can say it wasn't the right move. Griffey was done, just like Ortiz looked like, just like Matsuzaka is. All different situations, all different processes, but the same idea pervaded these players: they could no longer be a productive part of a team.

Daisuke Matsuzaka is not pitching. And believe me, plenty of fans in Boston are plenty happy about that. And that's OK.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 2, 2011 10:40 am
Edited on: June 2, 2011 10:51 am
 

Pepper: Injuries at forefront



By Matt Snyder

BASEBALL TODAY: What will Tommy John surgery for Daisuke Matsuzaka mean for the Red Sox? What is the latest with Dan Haren? I joined Lauren Shehadi to discuss a few of the injuries around baseball. Click on the above video to check it out.

HUGHES PROGRESSING: Ailing Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes could begin a minor-league rehab stint soon. Hughes threw a bullpen session Wednesday night and was pain-free. If he feels no setbacks following another session Saturday -- likely a simulated game or batting practice -- the next step could very well be a rehab assignment. Hughes has been on the shelf since April 14 with an inflamed shoulder and is hoping to return before the end of the month. (NYPost.com)

ZIMM BACK IN ACTION: It's been quite a while since the Nationals had third baseman Ryan Zimmerman in the lineup, but he took a step forward Wednesday, as he played three innings in an extended spring training game. Remember, this isn't a rehab assignment -- which is limited to 30 days -- but it does mean he's ready to start getting closer to such a step. (MLB.com)

BOCHY'S PLEA: Giants manager Bruce Bochy -- who, you may have heard, recently lost his catcher for the season -- reportedly made a "passionate plea" to Joe Torre in the MLB offices about better protecting catchers from injury. Bochy doesn't want to make any sort of slide rule, but would like the league to suspend players who hit catchers not blocking the plate. Check out the full quotes on Extra Baggs. I'm against any rule changes and the general sanctimony directed at the play just because a great player got hurt, but Bochy's actually got a point. If the catcher is 100 percent blocking the plate, the runner should bowl him over. That's baseball. But if he's off to the side of the plate and the runner goes out of his way to level the catcher, that shouldn't be tolerated.

WELLS READY FOR FRESH START: Vernon Wells got off to an awful start for the Angels and then hit the DL. As he prepares to return, he's ready to forget what has already happened and look for a new beginning. Wells: "You can't go back and change that (poor start). But I guess it is a chance for a new start. You're going to see numbers 'before DL' and 'post-DL' now. You'll have that stat breakdown, before and after. I guarantee you my post-DL numbers will be better than my pre-DL numbers." (OC Register) Just in case anyone's wondering, the "before DL" numbers: .183 average, four home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs, .527 OPS in 35 games.

MAYBE KEEP IT DOWN NEXT TIME? Rickie Weeks led off the game with a home run Wednesday night at Cincinnati. It was the third time this season he's done so in that very ballpark. He's spreading the wealth, too, because his three blasts have come off three different pitchers (Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake).

POWER OUTAGE: Justin Turner's eighth-inning home run for the Mets broke a 10-game homerless streak, their longest in 21 years. It also ended a 10-game streak of the sort at Citi Field, their longest home streak since 1979. Don't expect questions about moving in the fences to go away anytime soon. (NY Times Bats blog)

COLLINS ERUPTS: Of course, Mets manager Terry Collins doesn't much care about home runs, specifically, but he's getting a little tired of losing. Via ESPN New York, here we go: "I'm running out of ideas here. Do we play hard? Absolutely. That’s not the issue. The issue is not effort. That’s not it. It’s about execution. We have to add on some points when we get the lead. And I’m not looking for home runs. I’m looking for quality at-bats. We can’t make careless mistakes. We do. We give up at-bats. We can’t do that. We don’t have that kind of team." He went on for a good bit, and concluded with this: " ... maybe I’ve got to make some adjustments. And, by god, they’ll be made. I don’t know if it comes with finding different players. But they’ll be made. Something is going to be changing."

MAN OF THE HOUR: We posted about Adam Jones' brilliant catch Wednesday, and after the game the compliments from his teammates flowed. Orioles closer Kevin Gregg raved that Jones "looked like Griffey," while starting pitcher Brian Matusz said, "It was awesome. It was a good momentum thing because it put a smile on my face and it helped me relax a little bit and have fun." O's manager Buck Showalter said that Jones has been "spoiling" his teammates with his defensive play all season. (MLB.com)

PAGING CARP: Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times makes the case that the Mariners should call on prospect Mike Carp immediately and plug him in left field. The fact is the Mariners have gotten basically nothing out of left field, and Carp could give the still-weak offense a boost. He's on a 17-game hitting streak with a .325 average and 14 homers in Triple-A. Meanwhile, Carlos Peguero is reeling in left for the big-league club, which is currently only 1 1/2 games out of first place in the up-for-grabs AL West. As I find myself doing more often than not, I agree with Baker. The Mariners are right in the mix and need more offense.

NO JOYCE FOR D-BACKS: One of the feel-good stories from last season was how umpire Jim Joyce and pitcher Armando Galarraga came together following Joyce's blown call that cost Galarraga a perfect game. It even ended up with the two collaborating on a book -- "Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History" -- which is being released Thursday. Due to the business relationship, Joyce has been forbidden by Major League Baseball to work any Arizona Diamondbacks games. Galarraga is not even with the D-Backs at present, as he's in Triple-A, but Joyce is still not allowed to do any Arizona games. (ESPN.com)

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