Now that we've had our fill of rants, incessant babblings(by me, of course), posts about other teams/former players and so forth, I figure that posting a question to Rays fans and hopefully someone else will either counter my argument or at least point out why this would be out of the realm of possibility.
One of the few things that I found intriguing in the very limited info that Andy has said about the upcoming Offseason is that if a player comes along that could both make the Rays better now and in the future, we'd be willing to pay for a $10+ MIL/year player. However, Andy never went out of the way to tell us who the players might be and what positions that they'd play. Most of us believe that it won't be a Staring Pitcher in this upcoming offseason, seeing as it's almost definite that Zito is going to New York(which one is the question) and Jason Schmidt may want to reunite with his former pitching coach in Baltimore or may follow the dollars up in Toronto. Besides those 2, there's tons of question marks in the available starters that are in the market.
One name that I think none of us have ever thought about, for many reasons, that fits in Andy's criteria of a "worthwhile big money" splurg is Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Yeah, I know that every team in Major League Baseball would love to acquire a japanese Legend like Daisuke and it's pretty much a moot point for some that he'll go to the highest bidder in a war between Seattle and New York. Yet, if the Rays are looking for a "special" player that's worth signing to a multimillion dollar deal...I don't think anybody has Daisuke beat.
Daisuke is the famed owner of "The Gyroball" pitch, which seems to be an unfound legend by some. He's also a 26 yr. old pitcher who won the World Baseball Classic MVP and won 17 games for the Seibu Lions where he had 200 strikeouts. While many think that "The Gyroball" is a myth or a modified, late-breaking change-up, it's still said to be nearly unhittable and isn't an elbow-straining pitch like a slider.
Though right now is just the early stages of process the Seibu Lions are using(Basically, you're posting a bid just to allow yourself the right to negotiate a contract with Daisuke), it's a business investment that seems would qualm Rays fans worries, give the Rays a very young and talented assortment of pitchers in their rotation, make the Rays a very interesting mover in the International Scouting Department and positive National and Worldwide Press.
Coming from Wall Street and looking for cost-effective ways for the team to make/spend money, I can't see why the Rays couldn't turn into a darkhorse in this bidding war.
We may not have the infinitely deep pockets like that of the Yankees. We may not have the Japanese Connection that Seattle shares with the Nintendo company.
So what do we have? What would attract Daisuke to the Rays?
-Former teammate, Shinji Mori, who would guarantee that he's not the lone japanese player on the team.
-One of the largest assortments of the best, young talent that are within a few signings distance of being contenders in the AL East, while not having an embarassingly large payroll.
-The Neutral, somewhat Homerun-dampering, trick-pitch-friendly effects of Tropicana that could make his "Gyro"/Change-up more effective. Let's not forget that Tim Wakefields' knuckler is nearly impossible to hit when combined with the Trop's interesting AC-controlled environment.
-Playing for the Rays in the infancy of the new regime is probably the lowest-pressure situations in baseball. If you want pitch to just pitch, without the press reporting every move, you're perfect here.
-Take the MLB by storm in your rookie year, being the Ichiro of Pitching, attracting Free Agents to play with you, etc.
I, by no means, am advocating that we put all our money this offseason in acquiring Daisuke with the problems that our bullpen had. I'm just saying that Daisuke is a risk worth taking like Apple was in the 80's for the Wall Street folks.