With Yu Darvish's success this season, it's easy to forget there was another Japanese phenom who was supposed to light the Majors on fire. Well, actually there have been numerous Japanese pitchers with high ceilings who fell well short of expectation. But one such pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka fell so famously flat, his name will forever be linked with Japanese pitchers coming to the states.
After getting a huge contract from the Boston Red Sox, Matsuzaka never quite lived up to expectations. Then came the injuries. He missed aalmost all of the 2011 season when he blew out his elbow and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He returned this season only to be sidelined again with a muscle strain. Now, the Red Sox are finally out from under his contract, and Matsuzaka is looking for a new home. Could that home be Petco Park?
According to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune, Matsuzaka likes the idea of pitching for the San Diego Padres. He pitched there during the 2004 World Baseball Classic for Japan.
[Matsuzaka] told members of the Japanese media that he likes the idea of possibly restarting in San Diego. It seems he liked the city and the ballpark when he pitched at Petco Park in the first World Baseball Classic.The Padres did not have any shortage of starting pitchers who were injured in 2012, so to think there would bring on potentially damaged goods seems risky. Then there's the question of price. Matsuzaka cannot command nearly as much as he did in Boston. He made $10 million last season.
Full disclosure, I'm a Padres fan. I do like to believe I'm partial when it comes to covering San Diego. In this case, Matsuzaka may be interested, but the team probably is not. They have gone to a younger, more home grown focus. The plan in place seems to be working as the team managed to improve in 2012 over 2011 despite the litany of injuries they sustained. If San Diego went after Matsuzaka, he would have to come at a steeply discounted rate.