While there doesn’t appear to be an opening in the team’s current starting rotation, the New York Mets could still be looking for some depth options and reportedly are still considering the idea of bringing Daisuke Matsuzaka into camp, according to Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog.com. No offer has been extended by the team at this point in time and it’s unclear if the team’s internal discussions will lead to one.
Matsuzaka is a free agent for the first time after completing a six year, $52 Million contract with the Boston Red Sox. It is believed that Matsuzaka could look at a return to pitch in Japan if he didn’t find an attractive offer from an MLB team. There was speculation earlier this offseason that he had a preference for San Diego, perhaps a decision influenced by the pitcher’s park that is Petco, but there never appeared to be strong interest on the team’s part. Cleveland and Miami have also been linked to the right-hander.
Injuries and general ineffectiveness largely marred the final few seasons of Matsuzaka’s career in Boston, vastly diminishing the legacy he’ll leave with the Sox fanbase. He went 17-22 with a 5.53 ERA over the past four seasons, making just 55 starts and throwing 296.0 innings. His last full healthy season was his best, when he went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.324 WHIP in 2008 while finishing 4th in AL Cy Young Award voting.
Presumably Matsuzaka will have to settle for a minor league deal at this point, considering most teams don’t have any space available on their 40-man rosters with Spring Training right around the corner. Matsuzaka was known for running his pitch counts high throughout his tenure in Boston. There’s no way of knowing just how much he has left in his arm after such a spotty injury history. On a non-guaranteed deal he could potentially be an interesting candidate to watch during Spring Training and one has to believe he’d come to camp motivated, but the Mets don’t appear to need the additional depth.