Daisuke Matsuzaka will not be the fifth starter for the New York Mets to start the 2014 season after losing the spring training battle to Jenrry Mejia.
Dice-K will instead take a trip to Triple-A for the time being, as reported by SportsCenter:
Mets P Daisuke Matsuzaka did not make 40-man roster and has been demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/vnOcGburnG— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 29, 2014
Matsuzaka had a strong spring with a 1-1 record, eight earned runs allowed, 25 strikeouts and a 3.05 ERA. He had an especially strong showing Saturday before his demotion was announced, striking out eight and not allowing a base on balls.
The demotion comes as a surprise, especially after Mets manager Terry Collins told the media earlier in the week that Dice-K had an edge over Mejia thanks to his experience, via ESPN's Adam Rubin.
“It certainly gives him an edge, because he’s done it before, and he’s done it a lot. But certainly, with the way Jenrry threw yesterday, he’s got to be in that mix,” Collins told Rubin.
Then again, the Mets paid $100,000 to retain Dice-K's rights for flexibility, as Rubin notes:
If Daisuke Matsuzaka is in rotation from outset, Mets essentially wasted $100k Tuesday. ... It's only money, I suppose.— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) March 29, 2014
As Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News suggests, Matsuzaka may still wind up with the team as an insurance policy should Jon Niese not be ready to go against the Cincinnati Reds in New York's homestand finale April 6.
Either way, fans will likely see Dice-K on the mound sooner rather than later. As far as insurance policies go, the Mets could do much worse.
For now, Dice-K will make a splash in Triple-A play. Based on New York's wise investment, don't expect it to last long.