No official announcement has been made yet quite yet, but various reports confirm that Daisuke Matsuzaka will undergo Tommy John elbow surgery next week.
That means he’s finished for this season and will likely miss most or perhaps even all of 2012, which is the final year of his six-year contract with the Red Sox signed in December of 2006.
Between the posting fee to win his exclusive negotiations rights and the six-year contract Boston made a total investment of $103 million in Matsuzaka. What did they get for that money?
Your mileage may vary, of course, but to my eyes Matsuzaka has had one very good season (2008), two decent seasons (2007, 2010), and two injury wrecked and/or terrible seasons (2009, 2011). Add it all up and he logged 623 innings spread over 105 starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.25 ERA and 568/301 K/BB ratio while opponents hit .242 with a .720 OPS off him.
Basically he was a solid mid-rotation starter with durability issues, starting 32, 29, 12, 25, and 7 games (plus whatever he contributes next season) with an ERA that was 5-10 percent better than the league average once you adjust for Fenway Park.
According to Fan Graphs’ player evaluation system that performance was worth about $44 million and Matsuzaka also had a 4.79 ERA in seven postseason starts, so let’s bump that up to around $50 million. There are probably also plenty of off-field factors involved in his overall value to the team, but strictly in terms of on-field performance for a six-year, $103 million investment the Red Sox received approximately $50 million worth of value in the form of one good season, two decent seasons, and two (and likely three) bad seasons.
With the Braves on the cusp of formalizing their one-year deal with Kurt Suzuki, the market for free agent catcher Matt Wieters is dwindling. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick references an inside source that lists the Angels, Rockies and Reds as potential suitors for the 30-year-old’s services.
Wieters is coming off of an eight-year career with the Orioles. In 2016, he played through his first full year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2014 and batted .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and a .711 OPS in 464 PA. A return to Baltimore in 2017 isn’t out of the question, Crasnick writes, citing some within the team that would be open to Wieters stepping into a DH role and catching platoon with Wellington Castillo. However, he also points out that the front office appears divided on the veteran catcher, and sees the Orioles as a long shot for the foreseeable future.
The Angels have already been tied to Wieters this offseason, while the Rockies and Reds don’t appear to have made any formal inquiries so far. Both could use a veteran presence behind the dish, as the Rockies are planning to platoon rookie catcher Tom Murphy with 24-year-old Tony Wolters in the spring. The Reds, meanwhile, are banking on a quick recovery for 28-year-old Devin Mesoraco, who missed most of the 2016 season after undergoing shoulder and hip surgery and forced the club to rely almost exclusively on back-up backstop Tucker Barnhart.
The Red Sox are expecting to go to an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Fernando Abad, per Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski said there was a “decent chance” a hearing would be necessary after countering Abad’s $2.7 million request with $2 million.
Abad, 31, pitched just 12 2/3 innings for Boston after the club acquired him from Minnesota at the trade deadline last season. The lefty earned a cumulative 3.66 ERA, 4.2 BB/9 and 7.9 SO/9 for the two teams in 2016. He received $1.25 million in 2016 and will remain under club control (through arbitration) in 2017. A $2.7 million salary would be a hefty increase for the veteran reliever, who has seen a significant decline since he put up a 1.57 ERA for the Athletics in 2014 and who has not amassed more than 0.6 fWAR in any single season to date.
While the Red Sox aren’t close to settling with Abad, Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reports that they may be closing in on a settlement with left-handed starter Drew Pomeranz. Pomeranz filed at $5.7 million, while the Sox felt more comfortable at $3.6 million. The two are expected to meet somewhere in the middle to avoid an arbitration hearing later this winter.