I’m sure anyone reading this knows exactly who I am talking about if I say Dice-K. Daisuke Matsuzaka has been a large figure in Major League Baseball since his arrival several years ago just because of his personae. Now Matsuzaka finds himself in a unique situation with the Cleveland Indians. It is not necessarily a bad situation, just not one he might have thought he would find himself in.
This spring Matsuzaka was a non-roster invitee to the Indians spring camp. They had a few starting spots open and wanted to give Matsuzaka the chance to win those spots. Unfortunately that didn’t work out. As soon as they knew they were not going to make him a part of the rotation, the Indians came up with another offer for Matsuzaka. This is something that displays the type of team that Terry Francona runs, in my humble opinion. They offered him a minor league deal.
That might seem like a huge step down or even an insult if taken in the wrong context. But let’s look at the situation before jumping to conclusions. Matsuzaka has been injured this spring and only was able to pitch eight innings overall. Considering the number of pitchers that were going out for a few spots, there is no way Matsuzaka could hope to win a roster spot. The fact that they would offer a non-roster player a minor league deal because they still like his upside is extremely generous I think.
The meat of the deal is a little confusing but basically it would mean that Matsuzaka gets a hundred grand bonus and also has the option of getting out of the deal if he hasn’t reached the majors by June. Of course the Indians also have an opt out option. All in all, considering he was injured and didn’t have the chance to prove himself, it is a classy offer by the Indians and Matsuzaka was good to accept it. There only remains one more hurdle. The team has to work through the fine print of the deal with Matsuzaka’s agent. Unfortunately, that is Scott Boras. Hopefully it will be smooth though and Matsuzaka can go prove his worth and make this team later in the season.