Don't Let this Happen!!!There is no need to be alarmed, but I'd rather address this now so it is said. In today's Truth&Rumors over at SI, a report is quoted from the Riverside Free Press, stating that the Angels are looking at Daisuke Matsuzaka. See for yourself:
"The Angels are eyeing star Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, who earned a win at Angel Stadium on his way to becoming the MVP of the World Baseball Classic. -- Riverside Press Enterprise"
I found the original article entitled "Angels See Stars in the East" and browsed it for evidence of anything unsavory from a Yankee perspective. The Angels signed a young Korean pitcher and plan to get more active in Asia from here on out. I think that's on the mind of a lot of clubs these days, but the names I always hear associated with Asian scouting are the Mariners, Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, and Mets. At this point there aren't many more serious players in the market, but that will soon change.
I don't mind seeing Asian talent spread out over a larger spectrum of the Majors. It's good to see the emergence of the Asian ballplayer in the modern game. It shows the international reach of the sport, and the ability of this new breed to cross the ocean and break the stereotype of Asian people as somehow athletically inferior. Someday you may see the same influence on the game that Dominicans have had in the recent past.
My problem is not at all with the Angels newfound love for the Asian market. My problem is that everybody better keep their filthy hands off Daisuke Matsuzaka. He's bound to draw ridiculous interest. The highest bidder gets to negotiate exclusively with young Daisuke, so teams have to submit secret dollar amounts to the Seibu Corporation and only after the highest number has been determined will the victor know they've won the sweepstakes. It gives the Japanese company a huge advantage when they have a hot commodity like Matsuzaka. Teams who want him badly enough are bidding against one another, but they're also bidding against the phantom value of exclusive negotiating rights. If you want to bring the kid to your team you have to outspend everyone else just to talk, so you will likely overpay Seibu to have a simple conversation. As to the question of whether Seibu will "post" him for bidding, the company is in serious financial straights, and hopes to win the Japan Series this year so they can more easily let him go and reap the profits. We should all be cheering for the Lions this season. Either way the bottom line may dictate selling him to the US.
Ordinarily, I'd say it isn't worth it to go over the top, but deep in my heart I know that this flamethrowing, knee-buckling 25 year old is one of the best 7 or 8 pitchers in the world. Think Francisco Liriano with more seasoning. He's championship ready today. Plug him into the front of the rotation, and do a better job of managing his pitch count, and you'll have yourself an ace pitcher for the next 10 or more years. Overpay George. For God's sake don't let these other Johnny-Come-Latelies get their grubby mitts on "The Future". He's a Yankee. Don't let him wear the Angels' Red.
Update: The Braves and Indians are in on the Asian signing action!!! Hurry up Yanks!