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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 18, 2011 at 11:31 AM (#3831040)
I read yesterday that Taxawa is going to make a start this week. Don't remember where I saw that unfortunately.
   2. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: May 18, 2011 at 11:42 AM (#3831042)
From WEEI

Junichi Tazawa -- sidelined since April of 2010 with Tommy John surgery -- will make his his first rehabilitation start on Friday with Hi-A Salem.

The Sox will have 30 days to activate Tazawa, and will almost certainly option him after doing so. They will then have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for the right-hander upon the completion of his rehab assignment.

Tazawa was signed to a three-year contract in December 2008 and pitched in six games for the Sox in 2009, posting a 2-3 record with an ERA of 7.46. Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery to reconstruct the elbow of Tazawa, who compiled a 2.55 ERA in 109.1 innings pitched for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket in 2009.
   3. tfbg9 Posted: May 18, 2011 at 12:50 PM (#3831069)
I like Aceves. Don't like Wake's chances to succeed.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 18, 2011 at 01:50 PM (#3831095)
Back when the Sox were bidding for Matsuzaka, there were two reasonable arguments against his signing.

1) Given the uncertainty of translating NPB statistics to MLB, can we be confident enough in Dice's numbers from Japan? Even though he has MLB-quality stuff, that doesn't mean he has the command or approach or whatever that turns stuff into results in MLB.

2) A pitcher who got used like he was Old Hoss Radbourn in his teens, and like a Rice University pitcher through his 20s, is a terrible bet to remain healthy over the course of a six-year contract.

Both of these concerns, which I disagreed with and sometimes dismissed without much thought, have been just about entirely vindicated.
   5. tfbg9 Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:02 PM (#3831107)
4-well he does have the .600+ winning % for his career.
And he started and won the game that gave the Red Sox their 5th AL pennant of my lifetime. Then he picked up a WS victory.

Get well Dice!
(for some reason, I still like the guy)
   6. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:24 PM (#3831131)
Both of these concerns, which I disagreed with and sometimes dismissed without much thought, have been just about entirely vindicated.

Eh. Anybody who thinks the Sox made the Dice K signing purely based on his Japan #s is naive. Scouting played a major role in convincing them that he was worth it, and frwom what I can tell (not having seen him in Japan obviously), the Dice we got wasn't the same as the one they saw in Japan.
   7. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:26 PM (#3831135)
If I'm Yu Darvish I send someone to beat the crap out of Daisuke's friends and family. He is costing Darvish a bunch of money.

I'm with Teddy, I still like the guy. He has a flair when he's on his game that I don't think any other starter on the club has.

3 - you'll forgive my lack of surprise at your lack of faith in Wakefield.
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:27 PM (#3831137)
I should add - I enjoyed Matsuzaka a ton in the games when he was on. (Remember that first game, or this one?) And the 2008 playoffs. And, of course, as teddy says, he was a significant contributor to the 2007 World Series win.

I'm saying the 6/100 contract was an unwise use of that money, not that Matsuzaka was always and at all times a bust. He did good stuff, I enjoyed it. But the worries about him coming into 2007 were pretty much all vindicated.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3831142)
Scouting played a major role in convincing them that he was worth it, and frwom what I can tell (not having seen him in Japan obviously), the Dice we got wasn't the same as the one they saw in Japan.
Even if that's the case, it's just another reason they screwed up with the signing. If there was real risk he woudn't be the same guy in 2007 as in 2006, that's something they should have factored in.

My theory, for what it's worth, is that Matsuzaka got a Glavine/Maddux zone in Japan. (Or, if you are skeptical that Glavine/Maddux got much help from the umpires, he got the zone that everyone else in the NL liked to claim Maddux and Glavine got.) If you watch some of those old videos, he's getting several inches on the outside for called third strikes. My theory is he never had great control even when his NPB numbers were awesome, and when US umps didn't give him the superstar zone, he didn't have the skill to adjust. I was hopeful that over time, he could learn - that's common in pitcher development - but instead his arm blew up.

Maybe he'll be one of those guys who gets through elbow and shoulder injuries, rehabs and struggles for a year or two, and comes back a new pitcher with better command, more experience, and all that. I still have some hope for Dice, that he'll be a good pitcher for the Giants in 2014 or something - he's got the stuff to be a world-class junkballer, and maybe he'll still have some of the old fastball, too.
   10. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3831149)
I've stood behind Matsuzaka as long as possible but at this point it is clear the deal did not work out. 2007 was good (in my opinion better than the raw numbers) and 2008 was very good but 2 above average seasons in a 6 year deal is not getting it done.

I think Matsuzaka has truly changed how MLB is going to look at NPB pitchers. Given his crazy levels of success over there and his ordinariness here I think a huge dose of skepticism is going to exist for quite some time.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3831151)
. . . the Dice we got wasn't the same as the one they saw in Japan.

The old bait & switch? Pretty tricky. Perhaps it's not too late to find the real Dice-K or get the money back.
   12. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:46 PM (#3831158)
I have been wondering about which teams we could fleece out of a SP (read: take on somebody's overpaid guy (or properly paid on a non-contender) without having to give up much from our non-eistant farm system). This will of course make all non Sox fans scream and squirm...

Here's what I've come up with so far:

Twins 113m payroll, going absolutely nowhere
Scott Baker: 2 years left + club option (5m, 6.5m, 9.25m option), projects around averageish, probably would take some decent prospects though
Carl Pavano: *shudder* 2years 8m, 8.5m and limited no trade

White Sox 128m payroll and rapidly heading towards non contention
Edwin Jackson: 8.35m last year of his contract, projects probably around averagish
Mark Buehrle: 14m last year of his contract, projects probably a bit above average, full NTC though

I will probably chime in with some more suggestions at some point, but feel free to beat me to it...
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: May 18, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3831165)
Mark Buehrle: 14m last year of his contract, projects probably a bit above average, full NTC though


I'd be stunned if Buehrle waived his NTC, unless it was to go to the Cardinals.
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 18, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3831176)
Pavano was the name I thought of this morning. If he is just in a bad stretch and not totally cooked he might be a nice fit. He is probably a cheap option in terms of players and could probably eat some innings at worst.

The other thing about Pavano is the Sox might be able to do something where they get their hands on a Mijares or a Capps to bolster the bullpen. Obviously they would have to give up more but if the Twins go into "seller" mode they have some relievers worth putting int he bullpen.
   15. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 18, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3831186)
I'd be stunned if Buehrle waived his NTC

Oh, me too. Still, can't blame a team for trying...

Speaking of guys with full NTC's, could the cash strapped Dodgers be conned into giving up Kuroda (1 year, 12m)? He could be our new designated Japanese starter!

I suppose mentioning Billingsly would be considered greedy...
   16. tfbg9 Posted: May 18, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3831200)
Bah--go with Aceves. Or Doubront. Lackey will hopefully come back and be a 100ish ERA+ innings eater.
We can't afford to trade any more prospects this season.
   17. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 18, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3831217)
We can't afford to trade any more prospects this season.

Which is why I am mostly looking at salary dump type trades, where we would send filler back.
   18. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: May 18, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3831219)
New bad pitchers shouldn't be hard to find.
   19. Joel W Posted: May 18, 2011 at 03:54 PM (#3831240)
Going forward, you almost certainly don’t want both Alfredo Aceves and Tim Wakefield in your rotation if you’re planning to make the playoffs


Doesn't this overstate the overall depth of starting pitching across the league? You certainly don't want them to be your 4th and 5th starters, but if your 4th and 5th starters put up 5.5 ERAs and your 1-3 throw 90-100 games and put up a 3.75 ERA on average, you've got a decent shot of making the playoffs. ####, look at this team: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/1999.shtml

Anyhow, I'm not saying it's not a problem, just that shelving Dice and Lackey, and using Wake and Aceves, is perfectly compatible with making the playoffs.
   20. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 18, 2011 at 04:04 PM (#3831252)
I'm not saying they couldn't make the playoffs with two guys like that in the rotation, I'm saying they should have at least one better pitcher in the rotation. There's some chance that Aceves is that better pitcher, and some chance that Wakefield is that better pitcher, but they also might be both 80-90 ERA+ guys, and I think that two guys like that would be a real liability. Not an determining, crippling liability that guarantees they'd miss the playoffs again, but a problem that needs to be fixed.
   21. tfbg9 Posted: May 19, 2011 at 12:50 PM (#3832316)
Speaking of traded prospects, Hadagone, Kelly and Rizzo are all playing well in their new enviorns.

And Masterson is still going great, despite the monster splits.

Good for the future. Teams need to see your propects prosper.
   22. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 19, 2011 at 01:21 PM (#3832327)
I thought the Japanese version of DiceK threw mostly off speed stuff, and the American version throws mostly fastballs. If that's accurate, who's fault is that? Not DiceK's.
   23. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 19, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#3832329)
If that's accurate, who's fault is that? Not DiceK's.


I don't know how you can reach that conclusion with any certainty. It may not be his fault but that's not something we can even pretend to know.
   24. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 19, 2011 at 01:32 PM (#3832330)
I can suspect that the Red Sox changed his approach. I don't know why he'd change what made him successful on his own.
   25. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 19, 2011 at 01:33 PM (#3832332)
I thought the Japanese version of DiceK threw mostly off speed stuff, and the American version throws mostly fastballs
My understanding was that DiceK's #1 pitch was his 93-96 mph fastball. If you watch his highlight films, more than half the strikeouts are on four-seam fastballs. He also showed a great splitter and a good curve and change. He was always a fastball-first guy. The problem for Dice in MLB has been command and control, not stuff.
   26. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 19, 2011 at 01:36 PM (#3832336)
Speaking of traded prospects, Hadagone, Kelly and Rizzo are all playing well in their new enviorns.


Fuentes is doing pretty well too. Considering the sort of player he is and his age I think .310/.353/.393 in a .277/.354/.424 environment while being one of the youngest players in the league has to be viewed as solid progress.
   27. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 19, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3832342)
I can suspect that the Red Sox changed his approach. I don't know why he'd change what made him successful on his own.


Because he didn't have the success he wanted/expected when he landed on these shores? Given what he did in Japan and what the expectations were I wouldn't be surprised if Matsuzaka felt 14-11, 4.40 was unacceptable and of course 2008 was very successful.

I'm sure the Sox have done considerable work to help him adjust to the US game (it would be negligent not too) and it is very reasonable to think that some of their suggestions have not worked. This is year three of sub-standard performance though, at some point if it were just a matter of "throw more junk" someone, the Sox, Matsuzaka himself, Varitek, Don Orsillo, would have figured it out by now. I think this is ultimately a function of performance/ability and not style.

That being said he is a vastly different pitcher from what we were told he would be. The huge variety of pitches and the mid-90s fastball simply do not exist now and other than maybe his first few months in the US have never existed over here. I don't know why that is but it seems logical to me that if it was a conscious decision to get away from that variety by now he would have gone back to it if he could.
   28. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: May 19, 2011 at 01:53 PM (#3832352)
"...if he could". Yeah, he may have lost it. I guess it happens sometimes sooner than later.
   29. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 19, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3832359)
I don't see how the DiceK we saw in MLB could have succeeded as a junkballer. His command of his secondary pitches was spotty, and his control was not good. His quality was based on being able to get swings and misses on a 90-94 mph fastball. If that was a shift from Japan - and I don't think it was - it was a smart one, because his fastball was by far his best pitch.

Again, my theory is that Dice never had great command or control, but got a superstar strike zone in Japan, so he never had to learn. (This would explain some of the nibbling - he was doing the things that got him Ks in NPB.)
   30. Answer Guy Posted: May 19, 2011 at 02:01 PM (#3832360)
Theres something inherently irrational about my Dice-K loathing but I can't stand watching the guy pitch. He nibbles with everyone. Everyone. That approach might make sense with some batters in some situations but he doesn't even go after the scrubs. The count almost always runs full. He depends to an absurd degree on the good graces of the HP umpire. It's just maddening.
   31. Darren Posted: May 19, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3832485)
Again, my theory is that Dice never had great command or control, but got a superstar strike zone in Japan, so he never had to learn. (This would explain some of the nibbling - he was doing the things that got him Ks in NPB.)


I never saw his problem as nibbling (or not getting close calls), though. Yes, he nibbles, which gets him behind in counts. The problem is that when he wants to stop nibbling, he throws so many pitches that are not at all near where he wants them to go.
   32. Pingu Posted: May 19, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3832490)
Given all the recent reports, it seems to me to be increasingly likely that Dice-K has been pitching hurt for longer than anyone knows.

It would certainly help explain a lot of the inconsistency.
   33. tfbg9 Posted: May 19, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3832690)
Given all the recent reports, it seems to me to be increasingly likely that Dice-K has been pitching hurt for longer than anyone knows.



Chalk another one up for the team's whacky medical staff!
   34. Dan Posted: May 19, 2011 at 07:32 PM (#3832718)
They should just send the guy for TJ surgery now and how that he can come back in the 2nd half next year with a mid-90s fastball again.
   35. Textbook Editor Posted: May 19, 2011 at 08:58 PM (#3832798)
Dice-K out at least a month

Now he's on the track of trying to rehab it to put off surgery. I'm trying to think of the last time that worked out, where the guy didn't eventually need the TJ surgery... I can't think of any.

So the question now becomes: what can we get out of the guy before his contract's up. If we cut him open now, maybe he can give us something in late 2012 before we say goodbye forever. If we try this "strengthening" thing, what's the upside for 2011? Maybe 2 months of league-average pitching+, followed by the inevitable off-season TJ surgery so he's out for 2012?

In any case, my read on the above article is that our days of fretting over Dice-K's ability/effectiveness are soon going to be over, one way or another.

On another note, I'm thrilled to see Masterson doing so well this year. Always liked him with the Sox.
   36. Darren Posted: May 19, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3832844)
There seem to be some decent internal options. If you want to go young, you've got Doubront but Weiland seems like a possibility too. His peripherals have outstripped his results in the minors so far. Right now he's at a 3.83 ERA with 45 K, 20 BB, and 3 HR, in 40 IP.

For retreads, there's always Brandon Duckworth, who's been knocking around AAA for the past couple years, doing a decent job. This year he's got a 3.27 ERA with 33 K, 13 BB, and 1 HR in 41.1 IP.

Edit: And I guess if you're afraid people will miss the Dice-K experience, they could bring up Andrew Miller and his 28 BB in 35.1 IP.
   37. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 19, 2011 at 09:51 PM (#3832852)
Well, 20 BB in 40 minor league innings surely translate in the Daisuke range.
   38. Dan Posted: May 19, 2011 at 10:07 PM (#3832864)
Now he's on the track of trying to rehab it to put off surgery. I'm trying to think of the last time that worked out, where the guy didn't eventually need the TJ surgery... I can't think of any.

So the question now becomes: what can we get out of the guy before his contract's up. If we cut him open now, maybe he can give us something in late 2012 before we say goodbye forever. If we try this "strengthening" thing, what's the upside for 2011? Maybe 2 months of league-average pitching+, followed by the inevitable off-season TJ surgery so he's out for 2012?


This is exactly what I meant with post #34. It's hard to see him avoiding the surgery altogether, and I don't think he's going to come back as a good pitcher until he does get the surgery. So the Sox should really push him to just go ahead and get the surgery to see how he pitches at the end of next year. Hell, who knows, maybe after TJ he comes back as the guy they were expecting all along. Crazier things have happened. But it would be nice to see a truly healthy Daisuke for at least the last few months of his contract to see what he can do.
   39. Textbook Editor Posted: May 20, 2011 at 12:38 AM (#3832952)
#38--Dan, I lean towards having him just get the surgery now too... But my guess is he tries to rest/rehab it, fails, and has the surgery in mid-July, is out for a year, and then puts in a serviceable September 2012 cameo right before he signs a 1-year/$8 million make-good contract with the Dodgers or the Mariners for 2013.

I truly think this is basically the end game for Dice-K; we've seen him pitch his last good game in a Red Sox uniform.
   40. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: May 20, 2011 at 02:55 AM (#3833134)
Red Sox acquire Franklin Morales from the Rockies for cash & PTBNL, sez Jerry Crasnick.
   41. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: May 20, 2011 at 03:20 PM (#3833370)
Red Sox acquire Franklin Morales from the Rockies for cash OR PTBNL


I believe just cash is an option.
   42. Joel W Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3833426)
So, uh, Millwood?
   43. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 20, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3833463)
Eh, you're going to the scrapheap, not a bad gamble. He has been an 80-85 ERA+ guy for the last few years. My guess is the 8th/9th starter on a pitching staff probably doesn't project to be any better than that.

If the Sox have to use him for more than a couple of starts, that's bad, but if they get to the point where they need more than a couple of starts from their 9th starter (big five, Wake, Ace, Doubront) then there is not going to be a good option.
   44. Dan Posted: June 02, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3843605)
This is exactly what I meant with post #34. It's hard to see him avoiding the surgery altogether, and I don't think he's going to come back as a good pitcher until he does get the surgery. So the Sox should really push him to just go ahead and get the surgery to see how he pitches at the end of next year. Hell, who knows, maybe after TJ he comes back as the guy they were expecting all along. Crazier things have happened. But it would be nice to see a truly healthy Daisuke for at least the last few months of his contract to see what he can do.


Looks like Matsuzaka is in fact going to have TJ surgery. I don't know why he didn't just go through with it 2 weeks ago, but whatever.
   45. Darren Posted: June 03, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3844293)
Two weeks seems like a reasonable amount of time to spend deciding on surgery.
   46. Dale Sams Posted: June 03, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3844352)
So apparently Okajima doesn't want to pitch for the Sox anymore. RSN is being it's normal level-headed self.

I mean seriously. If a once valued employee of yours said, "Nothing personal, but I feel you don't appreciate my skill set, and I don't want to be yanked back forth between the graveyard shift and the morning shift anymore. I'd like to find employment elsewhere." Would you really say, "See ya later ########!!"
   47. Dave Cyprian Posted: June 06, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3846583)
Cafardo, Globe, 6/5/2011:
(Bobby) Valentine said he never had a pitcher with an arm injury in Japan because they were allowed to throw a lot and build up arm strength.


Never had a pitcher with an arm injury?

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