Is Daisuke Matsuzaka Really A Bust?

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Four years ago this month, the Boston Red Sox agreed to a six-year, $52 million deal with Daisuke Matsuzaka, a pitcher from Seibu Lions of Japan’s Pacific League. That was after the Red Sox gave Seibu $51.1 million for the negotiating rights to Matsuzaka.

That is $103.1 million for a pitcher that had never pitched one inning of major league baseball.

Smart move. Ummm, no.

The Red Sox have already paid $83.1 million for Dice-K in the first four years of the contract. Let’s take a look at what Dice-K has been worth to the Sox…

What we see is that Dice-K hasn’t been a total bust. In three of his four seasons he has been worth at least 2.5 wins ($10M) to the Red Sox. But he has still only been worth about half what the Red Sox have paid so far.

So did the Red Sox overpay for the Japanese fireballer? Yes and no. If we ignore the $51.1 million the Red Sox paid just for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K, then the contract ($30 million so far) is right in line with his production. And of course, there is the 2007 World Series title, in which Matsuzaka played a very significant piece.

There are still two years left on the deal and Matsuzaka will only be 30 in 2011. If he helps the Red Sox to another title, then maybe he was worth $100M. But when he was worth just 3.1 wins the last two seasons combined, it is hard to imagine he will be much of a factor.

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