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.
Kolten Wong is no longer the only second baseman being considered for a starting role on the Cardinals’ roster, and he’s not happy about it. On Saturday, GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny hinted that Wong could lose playing time to Jedd Gyorko or Greg Garcia in 2017 — in other words, an infielder who brings a little more pop at the plate. Prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Marlins on Sunday, Wong gave his heated response to the media. Via Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
I don’t think you give somebody a contract for no reason,” Wong said. “When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.
When pressed, Wong said that he would rather be traded away from St. Louis than step into a limited role with the team. “I don’t want to be here wasting my time,” he told the press. “I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.” The 26-year-old was inked to a five-year, $25.5 million extension prior to the 2016 season, complete with a $12.5 million option and $1 million buyout.
Part of Wong’s frustration stems from the Cardinals’ backtracking on their stated commitment to him as their starting second baseman last winter. Mozeliak admitted that while Wong had the defensive tools necessary to hold down the position, he failed to impress at the plate. It’s an argument that Wong hasn’t been able to rebut this spring, going 8-for-44 with two extra bases and 10 strikeouts in camp. He hasn’t looked much better in the regular season, sustaining a career .248/.309/.370 batting line with a .678 OPS and 5.1 fWAR over four years with the organization.
Still, the second baseman feels that he should have been given some heads up that he was playing to keep his starting role this spring, admitting that he entered camp with the mentality of someone who had a guaranteed spot on the Cardinals’ roster and not someone whose job security was dependent on his day-to-day results. “I need the time to consistently figure out how to be me and succeed at this level,” said Wong. “Everybody goes through it. Not everybody is Mike Trout.”
Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.
While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.
Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:
Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.