Peter Abraham last week on Daisuke Matsuzaka:
…there’s not a shred of evidence to suggest Matsuzaka will be a reliable pitcher in the AL East any time soon.
Two things: 1) I’ll never argue that Daisuke isn’t a frustrating pitcher to watch more often than not and 2) While dedicating an entire entry to how horrible Daisuke is, Abraham ends his piece by acknowledging that Daisuke was a success in 2007 and 2008.
But Abraham’s article went beyond that. Â Because of the horrible game he pitched a week ago (a game I was at), Abraham claims that if offered tickets to a Red Sox game, we as fans would think twice about going. Â I have yet to meet the fan who thinks twice about going to a Red Sox game for any reason other than deciding if they have the time and money to go to a baseball game. Â Abraham also compares Daisuke to Julio Lugo and Oliver Perez. Â Abraham is no fool, he chose two players (one who isn’t even a pitcher) to compare Daisuke to whose names incite violently visceral reactions from fans.
Money is what leads the heated dislike toward Daisuke. Â He makes a lot of money. Â The team paid a lot of money just for the opportunity to make him an offer. Â (Neither of these things, not so incidentally, are his “fault”. Â You can’t blame him for people wanting to throw money at him.) Â As far as I’m concerned, Daisuke earned his money in 2007 and 2008. 2009 was a bad season. Â One many blame on Daisuke’s involvement in the WBC. Â I’ll say this about that: Â I hate the WBC but the fact is MLB loves it and as long as they encourage their players to play in it I’m not going to continue to harp on how I think it affects certain players, especially pitchers, for the regular season (which I believe it does). Â Daisuke participated because he wanted to represent his country (which he did extremely well) and MLB supported that. Â Although I’m with folks who were upset that he hid his injury from the Red Sox, he didn’t break some rule or any trust by participating in the World Baseball Classic.
Why all this ranting about Daisuke? I received an email last night from a friend asking how the game was. Â I responded with enthusiasm at how much fun it was especially watching Daisuke. Â I received this long, drawn out response about what a waste of money Daisuke was and how he should be traded complete with a link to the Peter Abraham column linked above.
Now I won’t pretend for a moment that Daisuke has pitched like Cy Young since 2008. Â I too have attended (or just watched) many games where his pitching made me want to bang my head. Â I’m also not against people throwing around trade ideas. Â But when a professional writer comes up with “This guy needs to be traded” and offers reasons like “Last night’s debacle was hardly a surprise” after a game where the opponents scored 16 runs on 19 hits…well I almost don’t even know what to say. Â If the opposition scoring 16 on 19 isn’t a “surprise” you must be freaking Nostradamus. Â Abraham seems to love to bait fans (he did so when he covered New York as well) and then get into arguments with them, including insults that almost always end up involving his invoking the words “pink hat”, when they disagree with him. Â And he gets paid to do it. Â (In this same piece he suggests Tim Wakefield as a workable replacement for Daisuke. Â I love Tim Wakefield unconditionally but even I can see what a ridiculous statement that is.) Â I didn’t bother reading the comments as Daisuke is a favorite whipping boy right now and Abraham pretty much took the safe route here so there would be no disagreeing with him from his readers.
Daisuke had two successful seasons, one season where he was hurt and one season where his supposedly healthy performance was disappointing. Â Regardless of anyone’s expectations, while he probably won’t be seeing the Hall of Fame without buying a ticket, he has NOT been a bust and he certainly hasn’t been a “mistake” the Red Sox should “eat” as Abraham suggests.
Ironically, this entire article by Abraham reads like someone who doesn’t really follow baseball or the team but only gets his information listening to the minority of fans who decide to call WEEI and rant about how much the team stinks. (If we’re being honest, more stories about how, right now, baseball execs don’t think Daisuke can be traded, have come out but Pete still thinks SOME team would want him. Â He also totally excuses away any issue that could arise from Daisuke having a no-trade clause.IF a fan said those things to him, he’d rip the fan apart verbally.) Â He likes to insult fans he thinks know nothing about baseball by calling them pink hats. Â Pot calling the kettle pink there, Pete.