Gyro Ball! Whether it's real or not, the signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league contract is real. The Indians have brought in the Japanese right-hander and invited him to spring training, as reported by CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. Jordan Bastian says it is pending a physical.
The man simply known as Dice-K is now reunited with manager Terry Francona and could compete for a rotation spot, but will have to do a whole heck of a lot to win one. The import debuted at the age of 26 for the Red Sox, coming over on a huge contract with an enormous posting price. Now he's 32 and coming of several years of injuries and ugly numbers.
Last year he made 11 starts and was downright abysmal. He went 1-7 with an ugly 8.28 ERA. He gave up 11 home runs, yes, the same number of starts he made.
A very decorated professional Japanese pitcher, Dice-K has a lot of accolades, having won a World Series with Boston, two World Baseball Classic MVP trophies, and numerous games between Japan and MLB (158). He has fallen on hard times since 2009 though. He seemingly was regaining some form in 2010 but wasn't the same in terms of effectiveness even in his debut year when he won 15 games. His best year was 2008 when he went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA.
If you are not aware, Dice-K threw a lot of pitches early in his career. He has an extensive training regime and his downfall was likely the result of the amount of work he had put in prior to arriving to the Major Leagues in 2007. There's no telling how many pitches he actually threw when he was in Japan, but it is likely that his workload was far more than it was in Boston. Even the Red Sox had him throw a lot.
He comes to the Indians now, likely looking to re-establish himself. I think more than likely, he competes for a rotation spot, but is someone who starts in Columbus with the Indians intending to perhaps use him down the road if he rebuilds himself. He can earn up to $4 million according to Heyman.