Some serious anti-Daisuke Matsuzaka vitriol. But why do the Red Sox get a free pass?

46 Comments

Yahoo!’s Jeff Passan has a column up today covering the life and times of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who may have thrown his last pitch for the Boston Red Sox.  Passan does not exactly sugarcoat things.

He says that, in Matsuzaka, the Red Sox expected an ace, but rather, “got an ACE: Another Chubby Easterner, Hideki Irabu 2.0, a disappointment, a waste of money. A bust.”  He says that, while Dice-K’s arm has been hurt, his middle finger seems to be just fine because he has raised it figuratively at the organization for years.  He goes on to quote sources, presumably with the Red Sox, who call Matsuzaka “stubborn,” “pigheaded” and “lazy”  and who says that the Sox are “tired of his act.” It’s a piece that needs to be read in its entirety to be appreciated.

Passan is certainly not out on an island with this criticism. I personally find nothing less enjoyable to watch in baseball than Dice-K when he’s nibbling, and a ton of Red Sox fans feel that way too.  Still, I think the stuff thrown at him over the years is overdone and disproportionate.

There are a lot of miserable-to-watch pitchers who failed to meet expectations.  How much of what we hear about Matsuzaka is fair and how much of it is the result of blowback from the Red Sox front office, embarrassed and angry at how monstrous a miscalculation they made in the first place?  Isn’t a player’s bad attitude and bad habits the kind of thing that should be evaluated before the check is cut?  In criticizing Matsuzaka for those shortcomings, shouldn’t we criticize Theo Epstein and his talent evaluators as well?

You always hear about how bad Dice-K is. And that’s fair as far as it goes. But you rarely hear the Red Sox criticized for their hundred million dollar blunder.  In this case, I think there’s room for a more evenhanded allocation of vitriol.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.