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.
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.