Daisuke Matsuzaka is still trying to decide whether he will take another stab at the Majors or head back to Japan to pitch professionally. The interest level shown from the New York Mets and the Houston Astros, and the ultimate results from said interest, will likely make up his mind.
Daisuke Matsuzaka's Major League career has not quite lived up to expectations. When the Boston Red Sox broke records with posting fees and the contract for Matsuzaka, the team and the league expected big things from the Japanese righty. Unfortunately poor on-field results and injuries kept Matsuzaka from being the savior the Red Sox hoped he would be. Now, Matsuzaka is looking for a new home.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the New York Mets and the Houston Astros are considering Matsuzaka. Earlier in the offseason, the 32-year old pitcher expressed a desire to pitch for the San Diego Padres. However, the Padres did not express the same interest. Now, the Mets and the Astros may be Matsuzaka's last options. Cafardo says both teams would likely be looking to sign Matsuzaka to a minor league deal with an invite to Major League camp during spring training.
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Matsuzaka has already suggested that he would rather pitch back in Japan than accept a minor league assignment. So, he may take his shot with a club during the spring to see what happens, then head back to his home country if he can't break camp on the 25-man roster.
Matsuzaka came into the league in 2007 where he went 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA. It was not the type of performance that would build immediate confidence. Fortunately, Matsuzaka bounced back in 2008 and posted an 18-3 record with a 2.90 ERA. From there, the ups and downs continued and eventually resulted in five years and a 4.52 career ERA. Matsuzaka underwent Tommy John surgery in 2011 and made his return last year. That return was short lived as he quickly landed back on the DL with an unrelated injury. Overall, Matsuzaka posted 1-7 record with an 8.28 ERA in 11 starts.
The Mets are still considering veterans to help the team overcome the loss of R.A. Dickey. Matsuzaka could be an option if he proves he can pitch well enough during spring. However, New York probably understands it's a big risk. The Astros, on the other hand, have little to lose. They are rebuilding and trying to transition to the American League. Signing Matsuzaka wouldn't set back their rebuilding process, and it wouldn't cost much money.
At this point, it doesn't appear that either team has more interest than the other, and neither may end up signing Matsuzaka, but these two clubs could be his last chance. If he returns to Japan, it would be highly unlikely for him to return to the states and get work.