It is now being reported that Daisuke Matsuzaka will inform the Sox tomorrow that he will have his elbow unzipped and his Ulnar Collateral Ligament repaired. In other words, he is opting for Tommy John surgery. With that, here are five thoughts that crossed my mind.
1) Hate to say I told you so, but I told you so …. Right on May 18th with this post. Once he headed over to Japan to attend to some “personal” business, was there any doubt?
2) It’s hard to call this a major setback for the staff as there are comparable replacements. But boy, swapping out of Matsuzaka and into Wakefield is hardly a victory, especially for guys like myself whose patience with Wakefield has been exhausted. Personally, I would hand the ball to Aceves but given Francona’s attachment to Wakefield, that seems like no better than plan B.
3) With Matsuzaka’s career in Boston over, the Sox now have a hole in the rotation to fill for 2012. The most likely internal candidate is Felix Doubront and with that in mind, he has to be developed this season for that role. So the Sox must resist the temptation to bring him up as an emergency measure to replace Rich Hill, if such a replacement is needed
4) The Boston Baseball Writers have taken a beating on this story, some more so than others. But by and large, the print guys were handled by Terry Francona, swallowing all of his spoon-fed garbage without putting up a skeptical fight. What about “tear” and “Tommy John” did not compute guys? [ADD: And like clockwork, two guys who have missed particularly badly – Rob Bradford (WEEI) and Ian Browne (MLB) – are out saying this is not a fait accompli because the Sox have a say in the matter]
5) Per Fangraphs, Matsuzaka finishes his 4+ year career with the Sox with 10.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). That equates to about $45M of value which is obviously a far cry from the 103M the Sox will end up paying for Matsuzaka when his posting fee is added to his guarantees. Forty-four cents is a pretty depressed payout but it sure beats the twenty cents that the Sox collected on Matsuzaka’s Free Agent classmate Julio Lugo.