In a bit of a surprise move, the Mets announced Tuesday that they will pay Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100,000 retention bonus. Due to the language in Matsuzaka’s contract, Tuesday was the day the Mets had to either inform Matsuzaka he had made the team or pay him $100,000 to retain his services through May 30th. They chose to do the latter.
Paying Matsuzaka the retention bonus gives the Mets the option to send him to the minors if they so choose.
Over the last few days, most have been reporting that Matsuzaka being named the fifth starter over Mejia was basically a formality. It was expected that Tuesday around noon, the Mets would officially name Matsuzaka the last member of the rotation. Instead, they chose to go the other way.
Both Matsuzaka and Mejia are scheduled to start games for the Mets this weekend in Montreal before spring training concludes.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson will speak at 1:15 regarding today’s decision.
Most seem to think that today’s news is an indication that the “battle” between Matsuzaka and Mejia will continue until the weekend, when both of them pitch in Montreal and/or that paying Matsuzaka the retention bonus is a hedge against Jonathon Niese having a setback.
However, this could be as simple as the Mets allowing sanity and logic to prevail.
In Matsuzaka, the Mets have a starter with no upside who has performed poorly over the last four seasons. In Mejia, the Mets have a 24-year old former top prospect with top of the rotation upside.
This shouldn’t be a hard choice.