How much value did the Red Sox get for their $103 million investment in Daisuke Matsuzaka?

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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.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.

 

Minor league teams prepare for a “total eclipse of the park”

Salem Volcanoes
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The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes are a class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Today, the path of totality of the big solar eclipse we’re not supposed to look at will pass right through the ballpark in which they play. What’s better: the Volcanoes are playing a game against the Hillsboro Hops as it happens.

This was by design: the team’s owner requested this home game when the schedule was made up two years ago specifically to market the heck out of the eclipse. They’re starting the game at 9:30 this morning, Pacific time, in order to maximize the fun. Spectators will receive commemorative eclipse safety glasses to wear. The game will be delayed when the eclipse hits and a NASA scientist named Noah Petro, who is from the area, will talk to the crowd about what is going on.

Salem-Keizer isn’t the only minor league game affected, by the way. There are six games in all which will feature a “total eclipse of the park.” Turn around, bright eyes.

There are no home MLB games going on in the path of totality, but MLB has put together a helpful guide in order to maximize your baseball and eclipse pleasure. If you line up some good beer with that you’l have your very own national pastime syzygy.