Friday March 11, 2011 | 06:08 AM

Remember when Daisuke Matsuzaka first came to the Red Sox? He was the $103-million man ($51-million to his team in Japan, and $52-million to him). A Sports Illustrated cover boy, every Matsuzaka start was a media frenzy.

Now?

Dice-K grabs little attention. He gave up 5 runs and 5 hits over 3 2/3 innings on Thursday. That makes a total of 12 hits, 11 earned runs and 5 walks over 8 2/3 innings.

The Red Sox can shrug. Because of their resources and player development, they now feature a staff that has Matsuzaka as the No. 5 starter. If Boston makes the playoffs, Matsuzaka will likely be dropped from the roster because you don't need five starters.

Boston has already spent most of its money on the Dice. He is due $10-million this year and $10-million next.

Meanwhile, Clay Buchholz awaits his payday. Not yet ready for arbitration, he signed a one-year contract with Boston for a reported $550,000.

It figures that Boston will sign Buchholz to a long extension soon, like the one Jon Lester got (5 years, $30-million). Those kind of deals give security to the player and are long-term bargains for the team.

Lester and Buchholz contended for the Cy Young Award last year. Dice-K did not. And neither did Josh Beckett, who recently signed a four-year, $68-million extension.

But, according to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, Beckett's last 30 starts have been less impressive than both Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett, two members of the Yankees rotation.

And speaking of the Yankees, we talked about lineups the other day and about Derek Jeter leading off. Now, according to the New York Daily News, there is consideration to move Jeter to No. 2 in the order, behind Brett Gardner.

 

 

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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