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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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As I'm sure you've already heard

Well, steroids are a funny thing these days.

Guys, obvious users, like Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi, still refuse to own up to using the stuff in public.

Guillermo Mota, your master of serving up two run doubles to tie games in the Mets' playoff run, has been suspended for 50 games under MLB's drug policy.

And I thought it was all the devastating changeup.

In other news, Mota will change his entry music from that song "I like to move it move it" to Afroman's "Because I Got High."

Mota fully owned up to his drug use, releasing a statement saying, "I used extremely poor judgment and deserve to be held accountable, To my teammates and the entire Mets organization, I am sorry. I truly regret what I did and hope that you can forgive me. To baseball fans everywhere, I understand that you are disappointed in me, and I don't blame you," he added. "I feel terrible and I promise this is the first and last time that this will happen."

I guess that should change all of our minds about whether or not it makes sense to resign him.

Speaking of re-signing, though, the Mets are reportedly (according to your New York Daily News) close to a 2-year, $25MM extension with Thomas Michael Glavine. Not too much to complain about there.


In other news:
-Rangers/Ducks, 10 PM out here on the East Coast. I'm gonna pass on this one, I think. If you're giving up four goals to the Kings, including two to Brent Sopel, you probably shouldn't be an NHL team.

-Knicks/Grizz season opener tonight. Your Knicks over/under for wins this season: 33.

-Everyone's talking about Daisuke Matsuzaka. I have a few opinions on this guy, and I'll happily voice them when breaking down the free-agent pitching market.


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A Morning Roundup

Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse...
they do.

After your New York Jetropolitans dropped a heartbreaker to Cleveland (a winnable game where Chadwick stunk it up), your Broadway Blueshirts were pounded into submission by the LA Kings.

Although I have already touched on my fears for this Rangers season, I can't really say that the routing of Phoenix late Saturday night put me all that much at ease. Jagr has not been Jagr, and Lundqvist's play has been spotty, clearly not his wonderful work of yesteryear.

But the Jets are the topic du jour. This team, which started the season as the worst team money could buy, has now become an upstart underdog... until of course they lost to Cleveland. This game will probably keep the Jets from winning a wild card spot, which was a pretty realistic aspiration until now. Don't fret... we'll have a bye week.

And two pretty easy games after that: New England and Chicago.

These Jets will regrettably be four and six soon enough, and the failure in the past game is squarely on the shoulders of key cogs Pennington and Mangini. Sure the run defense was terrible, but it has been that way all year. The Jets were incapable of running a three-four, personnel-wise, and the 3-4 isn't always the best way of stopping the run.

Oh, well.


At least we have baseball... right?

Adam Kennedy wants to be a Met.
  • Sure, Kennedy's not a terrible option as a utility man, but I'll pass on him and his lack of power at second. Other names mentioned in connection with the second base vacancy include Rich Aurilia, Jose Valentin, and Julio Lugo.

    I won't put too much stock in rumors this offseason, but suffice it to say that Omar Minaya is hunting for a splash to make.


    Oh... and I think basketball season starts. Can't really work up too much interest in that.

    The Knicks waived Jalen Rose and reached a pact with Larry Brown. Huzzah.

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