In the end, Daisuke was worth it
By the end of his time in Boston, he had given the Red Sox arguably the worst starting pitching performance they had ever seen during his 2012 campaign. And it added to the disappointment knowing that the team had shelled out $103 million for his services ($51.1 mil for the rights and a six year $52 million contract).
Sure his sabermetrics and worth might not line up with the production he gave Boston throughout the entirety of his contract. But Daisuke brought more to the table than simply his numbers.
And his numbers weren’t half bad in his first two seasons in Boston. His rookie season he pitched well to start the season and not as well as the season progressed. Even so, he was a piece of the rotation for a World Series winning team.
The Red Sox went 3-1 in games he pitched in the 2007 postseason. Not to mention he had a two-RBI single in his lone 2007 World Series start, a start where he allowed two runs on three hits in 5.1 innings.
Talk about clutch hitting.
Daisuke’s biggest draw may have been creating an international fanbase for the Red Sox, creating TV deals and merchandise sales in Japan. With revenue sharing, the Red Sox did not benefit as directly from that. But Daisuke also opened up the market for the Red Sox to sign other Japanese arms like Hideki Okajima, Takashi Saito (MLBFA), Junichi Tazawa, Koji Uehara (MLBFA) and Shunsuke Watanabe (OK, maybe that one didn’t work out so well. But who could argue with his sweet delivery?).
He ended up being quite the catch for the Lancaster Barnstormers (Atlantic League). But enough about him.
If Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli were worth it for the simple fact that the Red Sox won it all in 2013, then Matsuzaka is no different. He helped them earn a ring in 2007 and was an absolute ace on the 2008 possible dream team. Given the opportunity to sign Daisuke again under the same terms, if Theo Epstein were still GM, assume he’d do it all over again.
It could be worse, his name could be Carl Crawford.
In case y’all were wondering, Daisuke has been back in Japan since 2015 and is now pitching for the Fukouka SoftBank Hawks — not his old Seibu Lions.