This offseason we will see if the Boston Red Sox learned their lesson after winning the Daisuke Matsuzaka bidding war and signing him to a six-year, $52 million deal. The cost to even negotiate with the Japanese pitcher ran the Red Sox over $50 million dollars.
Matsuzaka has become one of the more disliked players on the Red Sox even after a forgotten 18-3 season in 2008. He was hurt for most of the 2009 season after an injury that occurred during the World Baseball Classic. He only pitched in 12 games that season.
The 2010 season turned out to be another disappointing season as he only won nine games in 25 starts. His ERA kept climbing and climbing, mainly due to his control issues, which led to plenty of walks. After a rain-delayed relief appearance for Daisuke, he went on the disabled list and we then learned that he would need Tommy John surgery, ending his 2011 season. He will not pitch in Boston until mid-2012, which could even be good for Boston.
If Boston decides that they would like to go after Darvish then Daisuke could be a selling point for them. Darvish and Matsuzaka both played on the 2009 Japan National Team, which won the World Baseball Classic. Matsuzaka could also tell him about his feelings about playing in the United States as well as playing for the Boston Red Sox. For all we know Daisuke could tell him that he hates Boston and that Darvish should just stay in Japan.
Darvish has dominated the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan and a move to a more competitive league, such as Major League Baseball, could be attractive to him. In 28 starts this season Darvish has posted a 1.44 ERA with a record of 18-6. The most impressive stat for Darvish is that he rarely walks batters and strikes a ton of them out. This year he has only walked 36 batters while striking out 276. That's a 7.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which would have been the highest in the majors this year by over a full strikeout.
The price to talk to Darvish—if he even decides to come to the MLB or receives permission—will be astronomical. He is a rare player that could be dominant in the majors or could be another Daisuke Matsuzaka. We won't know how good he can be until he gets here.
Should Boston see if they can get him for a reasonable price? Yes. Should they go out of their way to get him? No. Darvish would be a great addition to the starting rotation but he is not a necessity. The opportunity is in the hands of GM Ben Cherington. In the end he will have to measure how well the Matsuzaka deal has worked out and if Darvish is worth the risk.