Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Yankees and Daisuke Matsuzaka

Neil H knows I love this kid, and I don't think he'll mind me saying that he isn't convinced that a Japanese pitcher can come over to the Bigs and be an ace. However it now seems likely that the Seibu Lions ace will be posted in the off season and the New York Yankees are the firm favourites along with the Seattle Mariners to sign the pitcher.

If you haven't seen the kid then before you read on then watch this video of him pitching in June .

He has a fastball that sits at 94 but goes up to 97, yes it looks pretty flat which is my only concern. However he also possesses a nasty slider and change and of course that gyroball. He is a superstar in Japan and helped them win the WBC in March. He seems to have a good make up and his stuff is certainly A+.

Now there are question marks, the obvious is how will his performance in Japan translate into the Major Leagues. That is a question that will linger until he comes over, also the fact that he once threw a 250 pitch game and is an innings eater and workhorse. You have to wonder whether all those innings will take something out of him and whether he'll be 100% throughout the rest of his career.

One thing does seem clear though and that is the Bombers are very much interested. They have hired a scout who is watching all his starts and with the owners saying they would post him should he have a good year, his 10-3 record with a 1.95 ERA seems to indicate that he is holding up his end of the bargain.

He probably costs in the region of $15-18m just to win the posting bidding and then with Scott Boras as his agent then you are looking at probably Carl Pavano money in the 4yr/$40m range, possibly with a big 5th year option. So the main question is with the FA's available this off season, Zito, Schmidt, Mussina is also a FA, who represents the best value?

Yankee fans seem split on whether to go after Zito or Matsuzaka, well let me tell you this, I want the gyroball kid, and if that means no Zito, then so be it.

My position has nothing to do with already owning Matsuzaka in a keeper league.

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