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Report: New York Mets Kicking the Tires on Daisuke Matsuzaka

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of the Boston Red Sox throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays during MLB action at the Rogers Centre September 14, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Abelimages/Getty Images
Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIFebruary 3, 2013

Japanese right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka's fall from grace has been well documented over the past several seasons.

Just four seasons removed from an 18-3 season in 2008, Matsuzaka posted a 1-7 campaign with a 8.28 ERA in 2012. In fact, over those past four seasons, he's earned just 17 wins in total.

Injuries, inconsistencies and just sheer inability have contributed to his downfall since 2008. He's now a free agent looking to latch on with a team and prove himself in spring training. And it seems as if he may have found a potential suitor in the New York Mets.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that both the Mets and the Houston Astros have considered bringing aboard Dice-K on a low-risk, minor league deal with the opportunity to reestablish himself in spring training.

Cafardo also notes that Matsuzaka could make his way back to Japan if the right opportunities don't present themselves here in the States.

The Mets rotation seems to have several candidates capable of filling the five spots. Johan Santana, Jon Niese and Shaun Marcum are locks, with Dillon Gee, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Mejia, Jeremy Hefner and Collin McHugh potential candidates for the final two spots.

Gee and Harvey likely have those spots locked up, though.

Mejia, Hefner and McHugh all figure to start the season at Triple-A, though Harvey could also benefit from some more seasoning there if Matsuzaka proves he still has something left in the tank. Harvey was productive through 10 starts last season, but his inexperience would make him the odd man out if Matsuzaka is back to pitching well.

Of course, that's a big "if."

This is all still a rumor, and no deal is in place—yet.

A team like the Mets, with little hope of competing this season, can afford to take a risk on a guy like Matsuzaka. If he pans out, general manager Sandy Alderson can use him as trade bait midseason and put Harvey back in the rotation.

This a low-risk, high-reward move, and Alderson should do it if the opportunity arises.

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