What if Daisuke Matsuzaka does not end up signing with the Red Sox by Thursday? What if Scott Boras is using him as leverage against the posting system? What if the Red Sox are not negotiating in good faith?
All of the above questions have been thrown around with varying degrees of credibility. All make one pessimistic about our starting rotation for next season. The possibility of Daisuke coming in and at least being a #2-3 quality starter in his first season in MLB is there. We've all probably seen the videos on youtube of his pitching.
Something important to do, while knocking on wood, is to explore what would happen, from a pure baseball standpoint, should the unimaginable take place. What will our rotation look like without Matsuzaka?
I still think that Tavarez would be a good low-cost option to fill the 5th starter role, certainly at least until Jon Lester is ready to pitch(assuming/hoping it will be sometime this season). However, I have a feeling that the FO will look outside the organization should Matsuzaka not sign with us. Presumably, they would look for someone who would sign a 1 or 2 year deal. I could write an entire post on the pros and cons of Roger Clemens, so I'm not going to at this point. Some other options:
Personally, I feel he will find someone who will give him a multi-year deal, even if it isn't for very much money.
Pros: He's flexible (can start and relieve, and has done so in the same season before), he's pitched in the AL East before, and recently
Cons: He's 35, and he's never been very good.
Rick pitched in the Brewers organization last season, so I actually have gotten to see a fair bit of his work with the Nashville Sounds.
Pros: Has won twenty games in a season (...once), would probably be available for a mL + invite deal
Cons: He's 35, and (despite his 20-win season) has never been very good.
Redman pitched for the Royals last season. He was their default #1 starter, staff ace, and wholly deserving All-Star representative last season.
Pros: Former All-Star, former first-round pick
Cons: Former KCRoyals All-Star, this guy is probably better
Tony Armas Jr.
Nostalgia? Sign him with the hopes that he out-peforms the other piece in the Pedro Martinez trade?
Pros: Talent is there and always has been. Also, like Helling, he might be willing to take a mL + invite deal.
Cons: Couldn't put together a good season in an extreme pitchers' park like RFK.
I'd keep going, but I'm getting depressed. Some names I left out purposely for reasons of desired salary, years, low upside, or extreme mediocrity: Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver, Barry Zito, Bruce Chen, Russ Ortiz, Ramon Ortiz, etc. Any other ideas out there?
Let's hope this post and any thread it might spawn will be rendered moot by Thursday.
[Update] Batista has been signed by the Mariners, according to Ken Rosenthal.
[Update] See Above. The hope has occurred. Absolutely moot.