Mets Sign Daisuke Matsuzaka

This is a few days late, but in case you haven’t heard, the Mets have signed Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

The Mets have decided to give Dice-K a chance to continue his legendary Human Rain Delay act in 2014 — one that would make Steve Trachsel and Mike Hargrove proud, and the rest of us cry. If Matsuzaka makes the big club, he gets a $1.5M contract.

As much as I cannot — and usually will not — stand watching him labor through five innings with all the speed of a terrestrial gastropod mollusc, this signing makes plenty of sense for the Mets. Having Dice-K and John Lannan as backup plans behind the very sketchy competition of Jenrry Mejia and Carlos Torres for the fifth-starter role.

I get the feeling that Mejia will pitch well enough, and avoid injury long enough, to earn a role on the pitching staff come April. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be the #5 starter, nor does it mean Mejia will remain healthy through June — and that’s why the Mets need both Lannan and Matsuzaka in the mix. Not to mention, we have no idea if Jonathon Niese‘s shoulder is going to last through six months of a big league season, and who knows what other random ailment will befall a Mets starter at some point.

Again, I find watching grass growing, paint drying, or fossils forming to be more exciting than witnessing Daisuke Matsuzaka slog through a ballgame, but, at this point in the winter, it’s a signing that makes sense for the Mets.

Your reaction? Post it in the comments.

Item of the Day

What’s more exciting than watching Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch a half-inning of baseball? Watching grass grow, of course! Order your Hydroponic Organic Wheatgrass Growing Kit today, and have it ready to watch (instead of Dice-K) when exhibition games begin in late February. In all seriousness, this is a good kit if you’re interested in growing wheat grass — I ordered this kit myself and have successfully grown several crops of bright green, healthy wheat grass. It was easy-peasy and since there’s no dirt, there was no mess. If you don’t have a proper juicer for the wheat grass, I highly recommend the Lexen – Healthy Juicer GP27 – Manual Wheatgrass Juicer — it’s the one that I use, and it works great for wheat grass (I haven’t tried it with anything else).


Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. TexasGusCC January 27, 2014 at 6:14 am
    Alderson made the announcement himself at the awards dinner, while he was knocking the Yankees:

  2. Mic January 27, 2014 at 6:35 am
    -Dice gets less than 1/20th the annual salary of Tanaka.
    -His ‘gastropod’ wind-up will make the other starter’s job easier if hecan scew with the oppsition hitters timing.
    -Colon and Dice-K if nothing else should provide decent mentoring to the kids coming up.
    -NOW if only Terry could figure out the personal catcher concept.
  3. blastingzone January 27, 2014 at 7:07 am
    If Mejia pitches great in spring training and earns the 5th spot what do the mets do if all five starting pitchers stay
    healthy and are pitching well when Syndergaard or Montero or both are ready to pitch in the majors in june?
    Do they trade Gee or Colon and what if Dice K or Lannan
    or both have good springs and are pitching well in june at AAA? I know their big if’s but their real possibilities and they would be great problems to have and here’s one more, I know with the super 2’s there’s no chance in hell that Syndergaard or Montero makes the club out of spring training but what if(their’s that if again) Syndergaard or Montero has a great spring and out pitches every one would they bring Syndergaard or Montero north?
  4. Dan42 January 27, 2014 at 7:08 am
    I think he speeded up his delivery towards the end of the season, but if he has an opt out in his contract depth may be an illusion.
    • argonbunnies January 27, 2014 at 7:59 am
      Lannan has an opt-out, but I think it’s fairly late — June, maybe.

      Dunno about Matsuzaka.

  5. argonbunnies January 27, 2014 at 8:03 am
    I wonder if GKR prep extra conversation material for Dice-K days? I think watching slow pitchers is actually way worse in person than on TV.

    In terms of effectiveness, it’s bad for the defense, but it also screws with the hitters sometimes. Trachsel always delivered about when the hitter was about to call time out. I always wanted to see Steve face Bagwell, to see if Bags could actually stay in that sitting crouch for that long without popping a quad.

  6. DaveSchneck January 27, 2014 at 9:29 am
    Return of the Diceman makes total sense. you know, for his $3 mil per year of Wilpon dough, Alderson does have a knack for these bottom of the roster moves. Whether Lannan and/or DiceK will accept a vacation in sin city I don’t know, but if so, they have plenty of depth with the SP. Just need a legit bullpen arm, a Balfour-type, and a legit SS to compete with Tejada, and they should be good to go. I know Sandy was busy scripting his monolgue for the BBWAA dinner last week, so maybe he can find some time this week to improve his 2014 roster.
  7. Murder Slim January 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm
    At least this signing should ensure that every fifth game I won’t be compelled to watch the Mets… as with Trachsel. Time to watch some movies instead.
    I think there’s scope to bore the opposition to death, and I hope Dice-K does well. But I’d love it if Meija stays healthy and can pitch.
    • Izzy January 27, 2014 at 7:31 pm
      You;l be able to watch a triple feature with this clown on the mound. Hard to believe anyone can say anything positive about this sign. Lots of guys could be given this deal, but Alderson in his full ineptidtude brings in a guy who puts his D to sleep, bores fans so they turn off SNY, and makes sure people don’t buy tickets in advance because who wants to leave the park at midnite when the game stats at 5 PM!!!!!!!
      • DaveSchneck January 28, 2014 at 12:18 pm
        Don’t you know that Warthen is going to “fix” him?
  8. friend January 27, 2014 at 6:06 pm
    Now find a catcher who is slow to return the ball to the pitcher. Is that a thing?
    • Murder Slim January 27, 2014 at 7:53 pm
      Imagine the exhaustion factor of keeping the other team out there for eight hours. Train up the Mets really hard and this could be a plus point. And more hours on SNY equals more advertising money. And more hot dog sales at the park. AND parents can get their kids to sleep earlier by showing them the game. I love Dice-K more and more! (But I’ll still be watching a movie and checking the box score later)
    • argonbunnies January 27, 2014 at 9:34 pm
      Macky Sasser couldn’t get the ball back to the pitcher, but that was more an occasion for excitement than sleep.
  9. Dan B January 28, 2014 at 9:46 am
    I don’t have a problem with the Dice K signing except it continues the trend of inertia. The Mets were horrible last year. The front office is returning. The coaching staff is returning. The players that performed the worse are returning. Why should I think the Mets wont be horrible again? Yeah I know the Mets signed some new FAs but bringing back the Dice Ks and the Omar Qs, while justifiable on an individual basis, leaves me feeling like I am rooting for the same bad team as last year.
    • NormE January 28, 2014 at 11:32 am
      Dan B, it’s called “Metsclerosis” and many of us are witness to it. It’s often associated with WDA (Wilpon Deficit Disorder).
      • NormE January 28, 2014 at 11:38 am
        My fault—should be WDD
        • Dan42 January 28, 2014 at 9:59 pm
          Followed by WWJD (What Will Jeffie Do?)
        • argonbunnies January 29, 2014 at 1:48 am
          Not your fault, Norm; sufferers of WDD can’t be expected to pay attention to every littl
    • Joe January 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm
      The Mets were not “horrible” last year. They were horrible for a few weeks until mid-May, then were average (including a sweep of the Yanks) and ended mediocre after key players left for various reasons. Net result was 74 wins.
      • Izzy January 30, 2014 at 7:53 am
        Good call Joe. They were only horrible until they were out of contention. Man, its great to support a team tha tonly sucks until irrelevancy day. What did Wilpon say? He wants meaningful games in April!!!!
        • DaveSchneck January 30, 2014 at 9:29 am
          I have to say that despite your lack of objectivity regarding Alderson, I must agree with you again. Earlier in the offseason I heard Alderson on the radio referencing a 100 game span in 2013 that they played .500 ball. My stomach just turned. Frankly, that is the talk of losers. I understand the extenuating financial circumstances but he has fielded a losing team each year as Met GM, and he has a streak dating back to the Padres that may challenge for the longest GM/exec losing streak in baseball history. His current roster is very likely to produce yet another losing record in 2014. There are players available that can address significant weaknesses on the team. Now he is stating that they may only “sign” guys on minor league deals to address those weaknesses. Yes, the farm system is improved, mostly due to talent acquired at the cost of all-star caliber big leaguers, and yes, they have a lot of young arms that may, “may” be able to contribute in 2014, but at this point his offseason grades out at best as a D. He has 61 days to improve his grade.
  10. DanB January 30, 2014 at 5:59 pm
    First of all, 74 wins is an horrible year no matter how you dress it up.

    By the way, Dave, as you criticize Alderson for not filling the holes at SS and 1B, don’t forget there is no natural leadoff hitter. And the two spot could be better. But the #8 spot has a lot of competition.

    • DaveSchneck January 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm
      Absolutely. The lack of a legit leadoff hitter is a huge unfilled hole. Furthermore, Collins’ take is concerning to me in that he may cram EYjr in there because he is fast. I like EYjr, but the Mets had about the worst leadoff OBP of any team in MLB, and his .310 OBP was a big cause. With these players, my preference would be to tell EYjr and Chris Young that they are in direct competition for both the LF and leadoff roles, and maybe a platoon. I would tell C Young directly that the number of ABs will be linked directly to his ability to get on base.
    • argonbunnies January 30, 2014 at 6:29 pm
      I’d label any non-contending year as “horrible”, and 74 wins definitely qualifies.

      That said, I can’t really tell fans who care about the difference between 66 and 74 wins that they’re wrong.

      As for leadoff, lineup order is fairly trivial. Just take whoever’s getting on base and put them in front of Wright. Yeah, Duda’s slow, but he’s not so slow that he can’t score from first on a two-out double in the gap.

  11. DanB January 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm
    I have always thought Wright, with his base running skills, his OBP, and his bat control would make a great #2 hitter, just like Beltran did for Houston. Yeah, yeah, I know all the reasons it won’t happen. But I like to dream of a team with a #3 hitter so strong that Wright hits second.
  12. argonbunnies January 31, 2014 at 7:38 pm
    Cubs just signed Jason Hammel for 1 year, $6 mil. I was advocating that the Mets get Hammel, as he’s the best of the lower tier guys, but everyone assumed he’d get more years and cash. Boo Sandy for missing this one. Hammel is a risk but has far more upside, both for 2014 and in the future, than Dice-K or Lannan.
    • argonbunnies January 31, 2014 at 7:39 pm
      WTF is up with this site turning random words into ad links?
      • Joe Janish February 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm
        Trying a new revenue stream; we’ll see how it goes. Amazon and Google ads aren’t enough to keep up with the server fees, so I started using these links (Kontera) to help make the monthly nut.

        Do you find it overly annoying? Let me know if the links are causing the site to be a negative experience. I figured since they look differently from “real” links that they would be too much of a distraction.

        Many thanks for your feedback.

        • NormE February 1, 2014 at 7:48 pm
          I don’t find it a distraction. Hope it helps.