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.
After the Cubs won the World Series last month — their first since 1908 — owner Tom Ricketts said he plans to reach out to Steve Bartman to provide “closure.”
Bartman was the fan who interfered with left fielder Moises Alou’s attempt to catch a foul ball in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS against the Marlins. Alou was particularly irate about Bartman’s presence and it led to the fan becoming persona non grata in Chicago. In the time since, even before the Cubs won the World Series, the club has tried to make amends but Bartman has rejected offers to speak publicly and he has also rejected invitations to Wrigley Field.
Alou pledged to make time to attend any ceremony the Cubs stage for Bartman, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times reports.
Alou said, “Why not? I’d like to meet Bartman.” He continued, “I have nothing against the guy. I said it right after the game. I had the ball, and I got upset, but at the same time it’s not that kid’s fault. Everybody goes to the ballpark, and they bring a glove. Every wants to catch a fly ball.” However, He still maintains that he would have caught the ball if he had not been impeded.
The Diamondbacks announced on Monday that the club signed catcher Jeff Mathis to a two-year, $4 million contract.
Mathis, 33, isn’t much with the stick as he owns a career .197/.254/.308 triple-slash line over parts of 12 seasons in the majors. The veteran, though, is well-regarded for his ability to play defense, call games, handle a pitching staff, and get along with his teammates in the clubhouse. As Craig mentioned last year, Mathis is often talked about as a future manager.
The D-Backs non-tendered Welington Castillo on Friday, so Chris Herrmann and Mathis are the team’s two catchers as presently constructed.