Daisuke Bulletin #4The march goes on at Matsuzaka Watch. Recently, the work I've been doing here has been heavily related to the increased media attention the young ace is getting around Major League markets. I spoke of the interest that the Mariners have in Matsuzaka, and the Yankees moves in Japan to gain a step up on the competition.
More reports emerge every day in the Seattle media, essentially telling the same story. He's out there. He's good. The Yankees are also after him. The Japanese connection that the Mariners have could help land his services. It's been repeated in every major and minor Seattle baseball outlet over the past 2 weeks. I expect it to continue until Seibu announces he's been posted and claimed in heavy bidding. I'll post the links to those stories here when I find them, but unless something new is said, I don't see the point in discussing the content.
The one interesting post I saw today was from the Los Angeles Times. They allude to the Mariners and Yankees, and hint at the Angels interest, but the story focuses on the Dodgers position in acquiring Matsuzaka. Current Dodgers' closer, and former Yokohama Baystar, Takashi Saito remarks that the Dodgers should take him. He calls Daisuke a "great, great player", as if that's news to anyone. The writer insinuates that the LA club will likely look at Barry Zito more closely in the free agent market as they are unlikely to get into any bidding wars. I wouldn't count them out at this point, but it would seem the Dodgers may be looking for a better bargain. Wait and see. The Dodgers have gone the posting route before with Yakult ace Kazuhisa Ishii, who was inconsistent and is now back in Japan.
The Dodgers pitching situation for next year finds:
Derek Lowe due $9.5 million (signed through 2008)
Greg Maddux contracts expires (likely to retire)
Brad Penny due $7.5 million (signed through 2008)
Brett Tomko due $4.3 million (signed through 2007+2008 option)
Mark Hendrickson contract expires (sure to be released)
Chad Billingsley on minor league contract (will join ML rotation)
It seems that there is one space open in the Dodgers rotation for a new pitcher. With Billingsly claiming his Big League spot in the regular rotation for 2007, the club can afford to spend on a front of the rotation pitcher. Their payroll is at about $100 million, but that's what it's going to take to compete with the championship caliber teams. Which way will the Dodgers go?