Daisuke Matsuzaka has signed a minor league contract with the Cleveland Indians, one worth up to $4 million should the pitcher make the major league club.
The right-hander had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and struggled to recover in 2012, starting just 11 games for the Boston Red Sox. In those starts Matsuzaka failed to return to top form, falling to 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA for the season, The SportsXchangereported.
When he came to the Boston Red Sox from Japan, Daisuke Matsuzaka was heralded as a can’t miss prospect. But like Hideki Irabu before him, Matsuzaka struggled to adjust to the speed and nuance of Major League Baseball.
In the six seasons he spent with Boston, Matsuzaka went 50-37 with a 4.52 ERA in 116 starts.
But as Daisuke Matsuzaka signs with Cleveland, he could earn himself a fresh start, MassLive.com notes.
Writer Ben Shapiro notes:
“It never really worked out as planned for Matsuzaka in Boston, but expectations were set extremely high. That won’t be the case in Cleveland where just making the team could be seen as an accomplishment.
“Could lower expectations and frequent match-ups against teams he’s enjoyed success against lead to a bounce-back year for Matsuzaka?”
Daisuke Matsuzaka signs with Cleveland having a decent chance to make the team’s starting rotation. While the first three spots in the rotation are set with Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Brett Myers, the fourth spot is a bit shakier. Zach McAllister is favored to win that spot, but is not a lock. The fifth spot is much more open, with Daisuke Matsuzaka competing with Carlos Carrasco, Scott Kazmir, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber and David Huff for that job.