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Slice and Dice

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff June 24, 2009 08:17 AM

Hey, look. Rob Neyer doesn’t think a pitcher with one win and an 8.23 ERA will be missed either.

In retrospect, investing $103 million in a pitcher who'd never pitched against most of the best hitters in the world seems at least a little bit risky, right? Particularly a pitcher who had, by all accounts, thrown an immense number of pitches before reaching physical maturity? Oh, and do you remember when Matsuzaka was held up as a shining example of why young pitchers should not be babied?

Dice-K's contract runs through 2012, and there are a lot of things could happen between now and November 2012. But $103 million is an awful lot of money, and if there's one thing I've noticed over the last decade or so, it's that a healthy majority of massive investments wind up looking foolish within a few years.

Maybe that's just the cost of doing business. It's hard to win if you don't spend a great deal of money, and if you spend a great deal of money you're inevitably going to spend some of it (as events transpire) foolishly. But it's still striking, isn't it, how much money the Red Sox, with all their analytical tools, have blown over the last few years?

It’s funny. I’m not quite sure where all the ardent Matsuzaka supporters were prior to his being placed on the disabled list. But suddenly they’re out in force, labeling anything negative said about the guy a “hatchet job.” Neyer and Bob Ryan both seem to be willing to go the “bust” or “failure” route, one I’m not quite willing to take just yet.

But please, can we get a bit of a grip on reality here? Matsuzaka has been a nice No. 3 starter for the Red Sox, nothing more. For $103 million, shouldn’t we be expected to wonder exactly what the Red Sox have on their hands until 2012? Otherwise, we’ll just keep staining our upper lips from the Kool-Aid and singing about gumdrops and lollipops. Maybe that’s just easier than actually having an opinion on anything these days.

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