Tuesday, November 14, 2006
oh, Adam, please, you must believe -- that snake put it in front of me!:
It's a cold wind that blows against the empire. In Boston, my near-perfect weekend was dampened by the news that the Red Sox have put out the high bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka, the fearsome, fearsome 26-year old Seibu Lions righthander. Matsuzaka dominates batters with something called a gyroball, which is something mythical: allegedly, it spins like a football spirals, and breaks up in the zone while accelerating. I say allegedly because there's debate over whether it actually exists, or whether Matsuzaka is really throwing something like a screwball.

What's not up for debate is that Matsuzaka is not only an ace, but the best pitching prospect on the market today. And now it appears that Theo Epstein will have 30 days to close the Matsuzaka deal for the Sox, which is more than enough time. Fuck!

The Yanks dealt Jaret Wright -- who had a good second half of 2006 -- to Bodymore over the weekend. So now we're looking at RJ, Mussina, Wang, and starters TBD (a healthy Pavano?) against Schilling, Papelbon, weak-ass Josh Beckett, the incredible (if untested in MLB) Matsuzaka and someone else. It's clear that after the sixth inning, the Yankee pen is much stronger -- as of right now -- with Proctor, Brusing Brian Bruney, Farnsworth, Myers, Dotel, Villone, this guy Chris Britton from the Wright trade, and Mo against... who's in the Sox bullpen again? Keith Foulke is gone -- so, like, Julian Tavares?

So, no need to panic, but the Yankees have some serious holes to fill in the rotation. Matsuzaka against any of their pitchers is more than a match. The pressure is now on Cash Money to either pull in Barry Zito or find the next Aaron Small or Shawn Chacon ('05 versions, of course) so it doesn't look like the Yanks got chumped in the off-season. I like Zito a lot, and don't buy the line that he's on the decline: he had 20 fewer strikeouts in '06 and ten more walks than '05, while his HR totals and IP are about flat over the last three years. But with the Red Sox picking up Matsuzaka and a pissed-off Gary Sheffield slugging for Detroit, Brian Cashman needs to do something dramatic.
--Spencer Ackerman
Matsuzaka against any of their pitchers is more than a match.

Don't you think it's a bit premature to be saying this? I mean Wang was pretty damn good last year.
Blogger Eric Martin | 3:00 PM

I hesitated in writing that. CM-Dubs had an amazing year -- 19 wins, a ludicrous ERA, 76 strikeouts... and it is of course true that Matsuzaka hasn't faced anything like an AL offense. But look at the YouTubes of Matsuzaka -- http://youtube.com/watch?v=PQCbvYwHPoA -- and tell me you'd want to be his opposing pitcher.
Blogger Spencer Ackerman | 3:11 PM

"Rooting for the Yankees is like rooting for U.S. Steel."

FD: Giants fan
Blogger wcw | 3:36 PM

Yeah, I remember when Hideki Irabu was the next Clemens. The only Japanese player who has lived up to the hype is Iciro.

Kaz Matsui was hyped too. Even Hideki Matsui, a terrific player, hasn't hit the 50 home runs a year he hit in Japan. (Though Matsui is my favorite Yankee.)

Japanese pitchers have generally been very successful in their first year then tend to go downhill quickly. The red sox would be lucky to get the production of a Hideo Nomo when he first arrived.

The red sox are just trying to market themselves abroad, because they've fallen behind Steinbrenner in the revenue stream war. Personally, as a Yankees fan, I'm thrilled that the Sox bid 45 million or so just to negotiate with the guy. That means the Yanks can get a number one starter for 2 1/2 years or fill up their entire bullpen (including Mariano) for two years. No way negotiating with this guy is worth an entire kick-ass bullpen for two years. The Red Sox overpaid.

I hope he comes to Yankee stadium and cannot throw strikes.

One last note. MLB should count the winning bid against the red sox salary tax.
Anonymous Anonymous | 5:29 PM

spencer, really: as a fellow yankee fan, the idea that we should be worried about matsuzaka flies in the face of the actual experience we had with irabu.

and if you ask me, the sox are out of their frickin' minds to make papelbon - potentially the next mariano - a starter again.

yes, the yanks rotation has been mediocre for three years (the yankee postseason starting pitching era since they were up 3-0 on the sox? 5.82. unsurprisingly, they are 3-10 in that span), but they are going to get zito. or schmidt. or someone else. i'm not concerned about that.

i'm more concerned that they don't have a #1 starter and there aren't really any on the market (but hell, there simply aren't that many #1 starters period once you get beyond santana). a staff made up of a couple of #2s (say zito or schmidt and wang), a #3 (mussina), an unknown #4 (could be pavano), and a #5 (johnson can't be considered more than that anymore) isn't going to scare anyone, but then again, substitute matsuzaka for zito and you'd say the same thing.
Blogger howard | 8:05 PM