The San Diego Padres offer an ideal spot every year for starting pitchers wanting a chance to turn their careers around and experience the broad space Petco Park has to offer. Apparently one such pitcher this year is Daisuke Matsuzaka, otherwise known as Dice-K.
The longtime Boston Red Sox pitcher has yet to receive a free agent offer to his liking this offseason, but the Japanese hurler reportedly has San Diego in his sites. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes:
He prefers to stay in the US, but Japan may not be out of the question, depending on what type of deal he gets. He prefers San Diego, but so far there's no indication that the feeling is mutual.
This report bolsters what others have already said this offseason. With so much smoke, it's clear that Dice-K's agent is putting out the word in a very public way that his client is wanting to come to Southern California.
The 32-year-old has been unhealthy the last two seasons, so any signing is going to be an incentive-laden deal with any team. Still when he's healthy, Dice-K offers a solid starting option for the Padres. In 2010, Matsuzaka went 9-6 with a 4.69 ERA in 153 innings in the AL East. His best seasons came during his first two years in the league after coming over from Japan, so those sorts of statistics are definitely in the rearview mirror. However some value could be there on a deal with minimal guarantees.
If Dice-K is being so pronounced in his interest, then the Pads are in the driver's seat. At the very least, the team will likely kick the tires and wait until spring training to see their options. Dice-K could draw enough interest from another team -- Stateside or overseas -- to make a move, but the Padres have the leverage and should use it accordingly. If they can get him to come in for such a deal, the rewards are well worth any risk.