So Google News is coming up with about 2,500 hits for Matsuzaka right now. Here’s just a handful—
Tom Verducci backs up UmpBump’s own Nick Kapur in about Daisuke Matsuzaka. The gist:
See, premier pitchers, the ones entering their prime, just don’t get on the market any more, not since the full-blown revenue sharing kicked in….Now along comes Matsuzaka, only 26 and the best pitcher on the market in, going back to last year, perhaps a four-year window. You miss this train and there’s nothing like it coming along for a long time. It didn’t take any genius on Boston’s part to figure that out, but it did take unprecedented boldness to step out as far as the Sox did.
Meanwhile, the vibe in Boston right now is (knock on wood! don’t want to jinx it!) reminiscent of when Pedro’s signing was announced. The city is excited, yet also slightly nauseous. (I felt the same way the first time I bought couture. Wait…I don’t own any couture. Well, I’m sure that’s how I would feel, if I did ever buy some.) Bob Ryan writes in the Boston Globe:
They will overpay Daisuke Matsuzaka. The only question is, by how much? Is he truly worth even half what he’ll get?…At the very least, the consensus is that he is a top-of-the-rotation starter. He is said to have outstanding stuff. According to a National League scout quoted by “Baseball Prospectus,” the repertoire consists of a mid-90s fastball, a cutter, a two-seam fastball known as a “shuuto,” a curveball, a changeup, a splitter, and a slider. Again according to Baseball Prospectus, another NL scout says he has three different sliders, which would give him nine pitches….And then, of course, there is the “gyroball.”
Meanwhile, over at ESPN.com, Jerry Crasnick offers s more sober assessment, one that any Sox fan out there should avoid unless he or she really wants to see what buyer’s remorse is like:
Naturally, you can question whether the Red Sox would have been smarter to invest their money in Johnny Damon, or if it’s reckless to go this wild over a Japanese pitcher when the main historical precedents are Hideo Nomo (123-109 in 11 big-league seasons) and Hideki Irabu (aka the “fat toad”). This move doesn’t quite jibe with the new image of the farm-friendly Red Sox, earnestly upgrading through the draft and player development.
But at this point, there’s no reason to question Boston’s resolve in its efforts to sign the man that Epstein respectfully calls “Mr. Matsuzaka.” If anything generates the necessary momentum to complete a transaction, it’s a $51.1 million down payment.
But MLB.com has the bottom line on the atmosphere in Boston right now:
A potential rotation of Curt Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Jonathan Papelbon and Tim Wakefield was enough to whet the appetite of Red Sox fans on this November night.
Breathe, Sarah. Just. Remember. To Breathe.