Daisuke Matsuzaka has a full no-trade clause in his contract. He also has just under $20 million remaining on his deal and a bunch of perks. Trading him would not be easy. The Red Sox would have to eat a bunch of money and they probably wouldn't get much back for him, maybe just a couple of mid-level prospects.
But it has to be done.
Matsuzaka is 13-14 with a 5.34 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP over the last three seasons. That includes going 0-4 with a 7.54 ERA in his last seven starts. He can't be happy with how his stay in Boston has worked out any more than the Red Sox are.
Last night's debacle was hardly a surprise and there's not a shred of evidence to suggest Matsuzaka will be a reliable pitcher in the AL East any time soon. But there has to be a team out there — the Dodgers, Mariners, Padres, Athletics, Mets or maybe the Diamondbacks — who would take him.
The Red Sox would be a better team with somebody else in the rotation. Alfredo Aceves or Felix Doubront would be a good choice. Maybe Andrew Miller in time. Giving Tim Wakefield occasional starts against certain teams wouldn't be a bad idea.
Look at this way. If a friend offered you tickets for a Sox game and you found out Matsuzaka was pitching, wouldn't you think twice about going? Going to get a couple of teeth pulled is a better time.
There comes a time when teams have to eat their mistakes. The Red Sox did it with Julio Lugo. The Mets released Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo this year. Now the Sox have to do it again, this time with Matsuzaka. It would cost them a lot of money, but at this point putting him in a game is counterproductive to winning.
Matsuzaka helped them win the World Series in 2007 and 2008 was a successful season, albeit a little lucky. But it's 2011 now and it's just not working for anybody.