The New York Mets made a rather interesting move on their off day Thursday by signing Daisuke Matsuzaka, who was released earlier this week by the Cleveland Indians. It might seem like an odd and meaningless move by the Mets, but with their rotation wearing thin with recent injuries to Jeremy Hefner and Jenrry Mejia. It makes sense that the Mets would want to plug someone in their rotation for the remainder of the season.
With the injuries to Hefner and Mejia, the Mets are nearly out of options for the fifth spot in their rotation outside of Carlos Torres, who has been far more effective out of the bullpen this season. Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom, two of the Mets’ top pitching prospects, could be candidates as well, but they are both approaching their innings limit for the season. This leaves the Mets with few other options aside from signing a veteran pitcher like Matsuzaka.
The Mets have nothing to lose by giving Matsuzaka a few starts at the end of the season. He has a track record of at least being a competent major league pitcher, and despite being released after only appearing in minor league games this season, his stats in triple-A were respectable if unspectacular with an ERA under four and a WHIP of 1.28.
The Mets are out of contention and have little to play for at this point in the season, so if Matsuzaka bombs out there are no real consequences. At this point in the season, signing a veteran with year of major league experience is better than taking an effective reliever like Torres out of an already exhausted bullpen. To a certain extent, the Mets just need pitchers that can eat up innings between now and the end of the season, and Matsuzaka should be able to do that.
The Mets will find out quickly what Matsuzaka has to offer, as he will likely start Friday’s game against the Detroit Tigers. If he pitches well, great; but if not, it’s no big deal for the Mets.