The New York Mets are more likely to be sellers than buyers at the 2014 trading deadline. One possible player to be traded, though uncorroborated by any official source, is Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Dice-K has done all that the Mets have asked of him and more this season. Operating as both a starter and out of the bullpen, Matsuzaka has been one of the most consistent performers this season.
There are many reasons that Dice-K could be put on the market by the Mets. First is his contract. Matsuzaka is on a very cheap one-year deal and his trade could be used as a rental to a team in need of a pitcher down the stretch. Next, there is his durability. Dice-K has been used as a closer, a starter, a long man, a middle reliever and even a set-up man this season. This enables Dice-K to fit any need that a possible contender could have making him a favorable and valuable target.
Matsuzaka has made 26 appearances with 9 starts and over those appearances has a 3-3 record with a 3.55 ERA, a save and 67 strikeouts in 71 innings and has held opponents to a batting average under .200 against him.
While the Mets may suffer briefly without a key member of the pitching staff, they certainly have the pitching depth to make up for this loss in the longer term.
It is unlikely that the Mets will choose to keep Matsuzaka past this season anyway. Matt Harvey and Jeremy Hefner are both expected back either at the end of this season or early next year. They will be joined by Bobby Parnell who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery from early in this season. In addition to these returning players there are a plethora of young pitchers on the brink of the majors including Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero, Gonzalez Germen, Steven Matz, and Jeff Walters.
All of this combined raises questions about which pitchers will be around next season and can also raise questions about whether other pitchers may be on the chopping block as well.
It would be prudent for the Mets to look to trade pitchers for young hitters and Matsuzaka is a perfect candidate for a “half-year rental” trade that have become so common and in which talented prospects are often exchanged. So would be the hops of the Mets if they chose to make Matsuzaka available.