Now Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com is reporting that he spoke with team officials and they are refuting the report, saying that no deal is in place to bring “Dice-K” back to the Mets:
Mets officials refuted a Japanese report from Sports Hochi that Daisuke Matsuzaka was on the verge of agreeing to a minor-league deal with the club, with one member of the organization saying it was ‘not true at all.’
As Rubin notes, Dice-K put up a solid 1.37 ERA in his final four starts of 2013. He probably wouldn’t make for a bad band-aid in the back of the rotation, but for now, there is nothing cooking between him and the Mets.
Let’s back up for a moment. Dice-K was 26 when he came to the Major Leagues. He was thought to be a sure thing, a can’t-miss pitcher whose stuff would translate at the big league level. In 2008 it did in a big way, as he went 18-3 for the Red Sox.
Since that time he has been nothing short of a disaster, struggling with ineffectiveness and a number of injuries. Right now, seven years since he signed a deal with the Red Sox, he is a free agent who might not be able to land a minor league deal.
Pitching is fickle, and it’s not even because they are both from Japan that I point out the following: we ought to consider the complicated arc of Dice-K’s career and, if nothing else, maybe temper the ridiculously high expectations that will be placed on Masahiro Tanaka. Because when it comes to starting pitching, from anywhere around the world, a sure thing truly is rare to find.