For all the shit that Red Sox fans have given the Yankees about their over emotional, over priced, overrated, MVP winning bum of a third basemen, they better hope Daisuke Matsuzaka turns out to be the hands down, greatest pitcher to ever pick up a baseball.
It appears as though Boston’s $42 million (maybe more) bid was enough to win the rights to negotiate with the Japanese right hander and agent Scott Boras. Most people think Matsuzaka will get a four year deal worth $8-$15 million annually. It’s very possible that his contract combined with the winning bid could equal or surpass the yearly figure that No. 13 in the Bronx receives.
If this guy doesn’t win at least 150 games, a bundle of Cy Young awards and multiple World Series rings, I can’t see how the $100 million-plus the Sox are about to gamble with could possibly be worth it.
Looking past the potential impact the team could have in Japan; do they really believe Matsuzaka is going to be a lot better than Barry Zito? On the Sox, Zito is a guaranteed 14-15 game winner. Is it worth that much more to win three, maybe five more times? And that’s assuming he can actually win 20.
Phillies manager Charlie Manual said based on the video he has seen of Matsuzaka, he feels the pitcher could win 25 games. How the fuck can anyone say that? Two pitchers have won that many in the last 26 years!
Obviously I’ve seen much less video than someone that works in baseball, but I’ve noticed that a lot of the pitches he seems to get outs with are out of the zone or they just eat up the inside half of the plate against smaller hitters. Major Leaguer hitters are going to make him throw strikes. He might just walk the park early on. And that high fastball that breaks Japanese hitter’s bats is going the fly out of Fenway Park. See Josh Beckett.
Here’s a question: Matsuzaka and Mark Prior are the same age – almost to the day. If you could go back in time and enter the two in the 2001 Amateur draft, with the scouts assuring you that Matsuzaka was a phenom and not knowing that Prior would have injury problems, who would you take?
I’d guess that most teams would go with Prior because they saw him dominate American college hitters using metal bets, and that might be a better indicator than Japanese league stats. I know that comparison is probably ridiculous, but it’s just a thought.
When you look at professional sports as a whole, you can count so many names that failed to live up to the hype. Compared to the players who did turn out as advertised, LeBron James for instance, you’ll find that the list is pretty lopsided.
And that’s what Matsuzaka is facing.
After the 500 words of skepticism, I forgot to mention: I think he’ll be pretty good. Unfortunately, that won’t come close to meeting expectations. Just ask ARod.
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