Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe has the goods:
Teams like the Astros and Mets are kicking around the possibility of adding Matsuzaka to their spring training camp to see if he can recapture the form he had in his first two seasons in Boston. Matsuzaka could also head back to Japan if he doesn’t get what he considers a good chance to make a major league roster.
In other words, his best bet here in the states is a non-guaranteed minor league contract and spring training invite. Matsuzaka posted a hideous 8.28 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 45 2/3 innings last summer for the Red Sox. He hasn’t been an effective pitcher since 2008, when he had a 2.90 ERA in 167 2/3 frames.
But rebuilding teams like the Astros and Mets can afford to take some risks this season.
Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks have fired pitching coach Mike Harkey following a season in which the staff ranked ninth among NL teams in runs allowed.
That actually represents a big improvement from last season, when the Diamondbacks allowed the second-most runs in the league in Harkey’s first year as pitching coach, but the Tony La Russa-led front office has decided to make a change.
Prior to joining the Diamondbacks two offseasons ago Harkey served as the Yankees’ bullpen coach from 2008-2013. He pitched eight seasons in the majors.
FOX Sports’ Jon Morosi reports that the Nationals are expected to consider Cal Ripken Jr. for their managerial vacancy. Ripken, of course, was recently reported to have been considered by the club the last time the job was open.
This could be a courtesy. And if you’re a Nats fan, you have to hope it is, right? Because the single biggest argument in favor of Matt Williams when he was hired was that he was a top player in his day, wasn’t too far removed from his playing career and could be a good clubhouse guy who understood what made major leaguers tick. His lack of experience was brushed off. All of which would be the same thing for Ripken, except he doesn’t even have the coaching experience Williams had and is even farther removed from his playing days.
I know he’s famous and everything, but if the Nationals’ 2015 season is evidence of anything, perhaps it should be evidence that sometimes it’s useful to have a manager who has actually, you know, made a pitching change once in his professional life.