Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Japanese pitcher that was supposed to conquer American baseball with his mystical gyroball, was granted his release today by the Cleveland Indians.
It was just seven years ago that Dice-K's arrival was greeted by unprecedented fanfare and international media coverage. The Red Sox won the rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka by coughing up the $51 million posting fee. The Sox then inked him to a six-year, $52 million dollar contract.
The star of Japan's two World Baseball Classic champions, Matsuzaka was viewed as a revolutionary pitcher whose success would trigger an invasion of Japanese arms to the majors. It never really happened.
Matsuzaka had success in his first two years, and so did the Sox. Boston won the 2007 World Series with Dice-K getting the game 3 victory.
But things began to unravel in 2009, when injuries, disputes with management over training methods and fan frustrations made Dice-K more enigmatic than ever. He had Tommy John surgery in 2011.
In Dice-K's Red Sox career, he went 50-37 with a 4.52 ERA. His best season came in his second year in Boston when he went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He would not win more than 10 games again in a season again.
Matsuzaka signed with Cleveland after his Red Sox contract expired over the winter. Daisuke had spent the entire season at Triple-A.