For Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, the 2011 regular season has already been a roller coaster ride.
Dice-K allowed six hits, three walks and three earned runs over five innings in his first start of the year against the Indians. He lasted only two frames next time out against the Rays, surrendering seven earned runs in a messy 16-5 loss.
There was talk after those first two starts that the Red Sox might replace Matsuzaka in their starting rotation temporarily — or permanently.
Oh, how times have changed.
The 30-year-old Tokyo native shut out the Angels over eight impressive innings on Saturday night in Anaheim and has given up just two hits, zero runs and four walks in his last 15 innings of work.
To say that Matsuzaka has figured it all out would be a bit of an overreaction, but he’s clearly doing something right. And with that batting lineup, all Boston really needs is for him to eat some innings this year.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.