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I think the Mets should pass on Daisuke Matsuzaka.

It didn't take me too long to formulate this opinion, given the always productive presence of Japanese players in recent Met history, like Satoru Komiyama, Tsuyoshi Shinjo, Masato Yoshii, Kaz Ishii, and Kaz Matsui.

Fun fact: Matsuzaka and Matsui are both products of your Seibu Lions.

But the worst part about Matsuzaka is the hype that has surrounded him. He's a young guy, to be sure, but with Japanese League Ball roughly equivalent to AAA baseball in America, Daisuke would be a twenty-six year-old pitcher with solid stats for the minor leagues.

His stuff is nice, as well, as I saw him and liked him during the WBC and clips from other occasions. He throws low-to-mid 90s, with a good breaking ball and solid splitter/slider. He clearly has high strikeout potential. His motion seems to be a little bit like Pedro Martinez's, complete with a great deal of torque, but also a little bit like other Asian pitchers, with a distinct hitch in the delivery.

Here's the problem. Daisukemania is sweeping the nation for no good reason. He's a pitcher whose stats translate him into an above-average major league starter. He's in a prime age, although with modern medicine and the wear on his arm, you'd probably prefer a pitcher who's already had TJ surgery to a pitcher who's been known to log innings upon innings each year.

The biggest problem, though, is the price. Matsuzaka, with a likely $11-15MM per year for 4-6 years deal, is going to cost a ton of money. Add his salary to the posting fee a MLB team will pay Seibu for exclusive negotiating rights, and you could be on the hook for upwards of one hundred million dollars for a pitcher who's never thrown pitches in an MLB game before.

Think about the money (5 years, $65MM) given to Chan Ho Park by Texas a couple years ago. And that's given that he had a pretty solid track record and was signing with a team who was in dire need of making a splash and adding pitching.

To add insult to injury, Matsuzaka, like Park, is represented by Scott Boras. Boras will surely make the process as painful as possible, and given the fact that Matsuzaka can earn unrestricted free agent status after next year, he also holds a great deal of leverage against the team with the winning bid.

Think about the kind of cash the Mets would owe, for a player who most likely will turn out to be just average. Although Matsuzakamania would put more people in the seats than say, Tomo Ohkamania, wouldn't their performances be roughly equal?

The Mets might have the possibility of grabbing a potential free-agent pitcher (after 2007) off the market in the coming months, like Colorado's Jason Jennings, or Cleveland's Jake Westbrook. The Mets even have another capable starter hiding in the bullpen, in Aaron Heilman.

Matsuzaka's Japan League ERA this year was 2.13, an impressive showing. But given the fact that he was pitching in a contract year, and the Japan-AAA correlation, Matsuzaka might post something like a 3.50 ERA pitching for the Mets. Given the rag-tag motley crew of starters we had last year, that's not necessarily an awful thing. But is it worth the money we'd be throwing at him?

At this point in time, I'm not sure the Mets are best suited going head-to-head in a bidding war with the Yankees, although it's likely that we'll see possible entries from the Red Sox and Cubs, among others.

Buckle your seatbelts, and pray the Mets find a technicality and can force the Seibu superstar to play for free. After all, we probably deserve that $27MM we gave Kaz Matsui back.

And, uh, with regards to the title of this post, Matsuzaka has said many a time that he does not actually throw the gyroball. So don't get your hopes up.

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