I’ll spare you the 50 word preamble as to why Sandy Alderson is looking to add a veteran starting pitcher this offseason… He just is and if you don’t know why, you must be new here.
Yesterday, I was inspired to weigh in on Bronson Arroyo when I read a post elsewhere that called him “the Mets’ best free agent option this offseason.” (title has since been changed) Dear God, I hope not… If Arroyo is the best, I hate to ask, but who’s the second best?
You can read my thoughts on Arroyo here, but what I wanted to do for now is throw out the possibility of whether Daisuke Matsuzaka could be that veteran pitcher Sandy Alderson is looking for… Could Dice-K be “that” guy?
Think about it…
As with any player, there’s some pros and cons to going with Dice-K of course, but what attracts me more, besides his recent run of stellar starts, is his price tag. He would obviously be far cheaper than Arroyo and we wouldn’t need to make more than a one-year commitment.
Given the bounty of young arms on the way and those already here, I think it would be silly to pay in upwards of $10 million for a veteran starting pitcher who is looking for a multi-year pact.
Realistically the hope is that Rafael Montero will join the rotation by May if he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training. Then you still have Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom as legitimate options for a mid-season promotion. So theoretically, with Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Zack Wheeler already set, all we need is someone to bridge the gap between Opening Day and Montero’s expected debut.
Dice-K has worked extensively with pitching coach Dan Warthen and he has rewarded Terry Collins for his patience when many were calling for him to be released. The switch in leagues gives the righthander a short-term advantage, but don’t underestimate the fact there’s no designated hitters in the opposing lineup – save interleague play.
Yesterday, Matsuzaka tossed a gem, hurling 7.2 scoreless innings against the playoff-bound Reds and holding them to just four hits – none of whom advanced past second base.
Manager Terry Collins pointed to Matsuzaka’s much improved command and increase in velocity as reasons for his recent success. Matsuzaka is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his last three starts for the Mets, while striking out 15 of the 74 batters he faced. Collins said after the game that Dice-K should be considered if Sandy is looking to add a veteran pitcher for next season.
“He’s such a great competitor,” Collins said. “I’m not surprised that he’s settled down and pitched this well.”
The Bergen Record also reported that Matsuzaka said he’d be honored if offered a contract to return to the Mets in 2014.