Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Red Sox hundred-million dollar man, is back after undergoing Tommy John surgery but will he be a boost or a bust? Let's take a look at Dice-K and his history with the club and predict what his future holds for the Red Sox.
A little history -
fee was mind blowing at the time. The
Red Sox beat out the Yankees, Rangers and Mets by presenting the Seibu Lions,
Matsuzaka's team at the time, a staggering $51 million for the opportunity to
simply negotiate with their star pitcher. Of course, if both sides didn't reach an agreement then no money would
change hands. With super agent Scott
Boras representing Matsuzaka, a protracted negotiation rife with acrimony was
not only a possibility, it was a probability.
two months of outrage on both sides, there was too much money involved not to
reach a compromise. Dice-K accepted, or
perhaps more accurately stated Scott Boras allowed
him to accept, a 6-year $52 million deal as a member of the Boston Red
Sox. It was money well spent the Sox
convinced themselves, an average of $17 million per annum and north of a
hundred million dollars in total for a pitcher who never threw a pitch in the
returns on Dice-K were far more encouraging than his performances since he
pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. The Japanese export insisted on pitching for his country and longed for
the success he had in 2006 when he pitched masterfully in not only leading his
country to victory but copped tournament MVP honors in the process.
The Red Sox
voiced their concern as they were not thrilled about having a vital part of
their starting rotation pitch like his life and honor depended on it when he
should have instead been slowly easing into a pitching routine during spring
training with his teammates. The Red Sox
could not convince him otherwise and the rigors of the Classic proved too great
a strain on his arm. He reported at the
tail end of spring training and was lit up like a hibachi in his first two
regular season games of 2009 and promptly placed on the DL.
insult to injury, Dice-K bristled at the notion of following the Red Sox
training regimens and even spurned their team doctors. Boston loves their athletes and don't take
kindly when the athletes don't love them back. Dice-K has always had an aloofness about him since he arrived in
Boston. After he took the money he gave
the Red Sox his arm but not his heart. Language is not the only thing that hasn't seemed to translate fully
between Dice-K and the city of Boston.
So what now?
year removed from Tommy John surgery Dice-K took the bump against the
Washington Nationals on June 10th and the results were reflective of
his entire career in Boston...mixed. He
went five full innings and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits and struck out eight and
walked only one.
line is that the Red Sox need pitching. Their starters have stumbled and a healthy Dice-K Matsuzaka would
bolster a staff that needs to pitch better if the Sox are to contend. He has a vast arsenal of pitches and he has
proven he can compete and succeed on baseball's biggest stage. But the Dice-K of 2012 is not the legendary
mound wizard of the Far East that he was when the Red Sox signed him back in
December of '06. He is fallible,
off-putting, and has charmed Boston with the same disconnected aplomb as J.D.
Drew when he roamed right field in Fenway during his five year stint in Boston.
As for now,
Boston fans will root for Dice-K because nothing thaws the icy hearts of Red
Sox fans like a complete game or a three hit gem. He will be 32 years old in September and may
no longer be capable of the former or the latter but can he contribute in a
more modest fashion? Right now, it's a
roll of the Dice-...K.
Check out how the MLB odds makers favor Dice-K in his upcoming outings with SBR Odds.