Daisuke Matsuzaka has been an enigma for the Boston Red Sox since he came to the team in 2007.
That year he went 15-12 with a 4.40 ERA and helped the Sox win Game 3 of the World Series against the Colorado Rockies. The following season, he was a Cy Young contender, having gone 18-3 with a sparkling 2.90 ERA. His strikeouts went down in year two, but he gave up almost half as many runs, and seemed to settle into his role with the team.
Since 2009, Daisuke has yet to win more than nine games, and his ERA was under five once in 2010 when he logged 153.2 innings. Injuries have certainly played a major role in his downswing, but it has become increasingly difficult to predict what he will do during any given fifth day.
His career ERA of 4.29 does not scream of a guy who is downright terrible, but after all the hullabaloo that followed his signing with the team in 2007, the Sox were right in expecting a bigger return on their investment.
Now, the Red Sox have placed the 31-year-old righty on waivers, according to Buster Olney of ESPN. And although he does have no-trade capabilities, there is a chance he could don another uniform this season.
Much has been made of Stephen Strasburg and his season potentially ending early, so it wouldn't be surprising to see the Nats go for a starting pitcher. The team does own the best record in baseball, and if their young stud cannot pitch during the playoffs, they will need an additional arm.
While the Nats may be reluctant to take on the last $2 million of his $52 million contract, it's tough to put a price on good pitching in the playoffs. And seeing as how he has pitched in the World Series with success, he could be an important piece for them going forward.
The Pirates are another young, inexperienced team that has surprised almost everyone this year. And with news coming out that they released Erik Bedard on Tuesday, they could be looking to add pitching depth to shrink that three-game deficit in the National League Wild Card race. A.J. Burnett and James McDonald have pitched well, but the team doesn't have another reliable starter to lean on. Daisuke could be a solid fit for this young team.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers may have just made one of the biggest trades in the last decade, but don't be surprised to see this team looking to add more pitching depth. Josh Beckett looked solid in his first start with the team Monday, but their rotation is far from a dominating unit. Clayton Kershaw has been his usual reliable self, having thrown 186.2 innings thus far and accruing an impressive 2.84 ERA. While Billingsley, Capuano and Harang have held down the fort, an additional starter could do wonders.