Daisuke Matsuzaka is in the best shape of his life

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The Sox weren’t happy with Dice-K’s conditioning last year, but his offseason was good enough that I feel comfortable giving him the official BSOHL seal of approval:

The righthander arrived here
Thursday and worked out at the team complex the last two days. After a
winter that included several sessions at the Athletes’ Performance
training center in Arizona, Matsuzaka appears to be in better condition
than last season.

“He worked hard this winter, that’s evident,” general manager Theo Epstein said. “He has lost weight.”

Nice to hear he’s in shape, but the real questions surround his pride and candor. His struggles last year may have had a basis in a lack of conditioning, but they were exacerbated by his failure to disclose his injuries — a groin pull, mostly — and by allowing the Red Sox to pitch him when he wasn’t healthy. That led to ineffectiveness and shoulder problems.

Even guys who are in good shape get hurt. Hopefully Matsuzaka will let everyone know about it if it happens again.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.