Over the long weekend, Bill Center of the Union-Tribune discussed the Padres’ need for Starting Pitching help and mentioned how veteran Daisuke Matsuzaka is apparently interested in heading West to San Diego from Boston. As someone who has the “I Hope the Friars Add as Many (Hopefully) Healthy Arms as Possible This Offseason” mind-set, I hope that G.M. Josh Byrnes and the rest of San Diego’s brass explores the move in depth over the coming weeks. In fact, if money is “not an issue” for Matsuzaka as he apparently told a member of the Japanese media (via Center’s piece), then I hope that San Diego’s Front Office can begin some talks with Matsuzaka.
Matsuzaka’s desire to pitch in San Diego though does not surprise me in the least though. Think about it fans, the 32 year-old has already finished a successful career in Japan, was a valuable member of a World Series Championship Team (2007 Red Sox), and has already made $51 million dollars off of the 6 year contract he signed back in 2007 with Boston. In addition to his already long-list of accomplishments though, Matsuzaka might still have some decent years of baseball left in him, especially if his elbow issues are kept at bay. If the Padres do decide to lure Matsuzaka to San Diego, they should also remind and enlighten him on how pitching one’s Home Games at Petco Park has been quite the remedy for veteran Free Agents over recent seasons.
Three of the biggest examples of this aforementioned idea are highlighted in the forms of Jon Garland, Aaron Harang, and Edinson Volquez. All three of these veteran Pitchers had fallen on some hard times before they came to San Diego. Whether it was injuries, inconsistent play, or age, Garland, Harang, and Volquez seemed to benefit during their stays at Petco. After three rough seasons in Cincinnati, Volquez enjoyed some-what of a bounce-back year with the Padres in 2012 and put up the best numbers in terms of Wins, Starts, Strikeouts, and Innings Pitched he had recorded since 2008.
Last year, the 29 year-old went 11-11 in 32 Starts, logged 182.2 Innings Pitched, and Struck Out 174 batters in his first year with the Friars and did a fine job on his home field. In 17 Home Starts, Volquez did a fine job and posted a 6-3 record. In addition, Volquez only allowed a .208 Batting Average Against, a .318 On-Base Percentage Against, a .284 Slugging Percentage Against, and Struck Out 99. Harang and Garland also performed well in their first seasons’ with the club, as Harang (in 2011) recorded the most Wins (14) of his career since 2006, and Garland (in 2010) set a career-low in ERA (3.47), and a career-high in Strikeouts (136).
Although the fences are being moved in around Petco in specific areas, the ball-park still remains a “Pitcher’s Paradise” in terms of its spacious dimensions. I am not shocked to see a player like Matsuzaka interested in pitching for the Padres. Heck, I would even go so far as to say that he probably sees a stint with San Diego as beneficial to him long-term, especially if he wants one last big-money contract down the road and his health permits him to pitch into his late 30′s.
The Padres seem to be interested in adding arms to their rotation over the next three months, and have already added one potential Starter in a trade with Oakland recently. More arms should be on the way, and Matsuzaka and his Free Agent situation will be something for us Friars Fans to keep our eyes on for the time being.
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference