If Dice-K Can't Make it in Cleveland He Can't Make it Anywhere

In news that will shock nobody who has watched Diasuke Matsuzaka pitch since 2009, Dice-K appears to be on the outside looking in with the Cleveland rotation.  Thanks to nagging injuries he is well behind where the rest of the rotation candidates are well ahead of Matsuzaka in preparing for the season. Even with a moderately successful three inning appearance in minor league camp, Dice-K would almost certainly not be ready for Opening Day.

Dice-K is fighting to make one of the worst
rotations in baseball.
If Daisuke Matsuzaka is insistent on remaining a major league pitcher and does not want to return to his homeland a mediocre afterthought, there were few places better for him to go than Cleveland. In 2012 the Cleveland pitching staff was awful with a 4.78 ERA, and the rotation was even worse than that. Zach McAllister was the only Tribe starter to have an ERA under 4.90. Given that interest in Matsuzaka this off-season was basically zero going to Cleveland was the best situation for him.

Cleveland has until March 26 to add Matsuzaka to the 25-man roster or ask him to accept a AAA assignment and a $100,000 retention bonus. If Cleveland breaks camp with Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jiminez, Brett Myers, McAllister, and Scott Kazmir (?!?), Matsuzaka may as well take his chances pitching in Columbus. Undoubtedly one of those five will get injured or suck. That would open the door for Matsuzaka to be the Aaron Cook of the 2013 Indians. And if he can't stay healthy and be effective in International League, he most certainly won't be able to do so in Japan.

Matsuzaka was likely never going to live up to the hype some attached to him after the Red Sox paid the $51.1m fee. Those expecting a Japanese Pedro were always going to be disappointed. He had a couple pretty good seasons in 2007 and 2008, and then provided nothing for the remainder of his contract. He most certainly wouldn't be the first pitcher to be pretty good in his mid-20s before falling off a cliff (he is competing with one of them right now in Kazmir). The scarlet $100,000,000 means he will always be cast in a harsher light.