Daisuke Matsuzaka

OK, Francona: what have you done with the real Daisuke Matsuzaka?

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Patriots’ Day in Boston means three things: the Boston Marathon, drinking at 8AM and an 11AM start for the Red Sox game.  Which, in turn, gives you plenty of time after 2PM or so to go and have some more beers. I could at least enjoy one of those things today, what the Red Sox-Blue Jays game on my little television.  It just went final: the Red Sox win 9-1.

The offensive explosion was something to behold — with Jed Lowrie going 4 for 5 with a homer and 4 RBI — but the real shocker here was Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Or at least, whoever it was that was wearing his uniform today, because I’ve never seen Dice-K this efficient and effective.  He threw 89 pitches in eight innings while giving up only one hit and walking only one guy.  He had a five-pitch inning for cryin’ out loud.  I’m fairly certain it was someone else pitching while the real Dice-K sits tied up in a storage locker someplace. Or, if you insist on ignoring my conspiracy theories, you can chalk it up to the week between starts. He has always done better on extra rest, so fine, maybe he hasn’t been kidnapped.

Of course, with Lowrie breaking out like he has lately, perhaps Marco Scutaro may be the next one to show up on the missing persons list. Because I don’t think we’ll be seeing him for a while.

Three straight wins for the Sox. Are they over the early season funk?

Diamondbacks sign Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21:  Fernando Rodney #56 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 21, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
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Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.

Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.

Hazen issued a statement following the signing:

With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.

Cardinals, Dexter Fowler agree to a five-year, $82 million deal

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts during the seventh inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.

The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.

For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.