End Of The Road For Daisuke Matsuzaka
After a six-year run in Major League Baseball, it appears as though Daisuke Matsuzaka’s career has reached its conclusion. The Japanese right-hander was released by the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, per his request, perhaps signaling his retirement.
Signed by Boston in 2007, “Dice-K” never quite lived up to the $103 million that the Red Sox invested in him. Before the disappointment of his MLB career, fans across the country were fascinated by Matsuzaka upon his arrival in the United States. They packed the stands whenever and wherever he pitched, hoping to see his unique “gyroball” pitch that brought him so much success with the Seibu Lions. His services didn’t come cheap, as the Red Sox had to pay a $51 million fee for his bidding rights before signing him to a $52 million contract over six years. In his first year in the majors, Daisuke struggled while posting a 4.40 ERA, but he settled down to go 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA the following year. That year, 2008, would prove to be his final solid season, as he went 17-22 with a 5.53 ERA over his final four years, culminating in a 2012 season where he was 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA.
Interested in the 32-year-old, the Indians took a shot at revitalizing Matsuzaka’s career, signing him to a minor league deal this February. He spent the entire season with the club’s Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers, before being released. His record was 5-8, and he posted a 3.92 ERA.
The fact that Matsuzaka asked for his unconditional release likely signals the end for him. While his MLB career ended in disappointment, Matsuzaka can still be proud of his lifetime accomplishments. He was 93-45 in his Japanese career, and 50-37 in his six years with Boston, despite a 4.52 career ERA. He was also instrumental in the Red Sox’s 2007 World Series run, becoming the first Japanese pitcher to start (and win) a World Series game.