Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Getting Closer

We're getting closer to the likely posting period for Matsuzaka, and news is flying fast and furious. I don't put a lot of faith in most of the news stories jumping off keyboards, so I've been kind of incognito recently. I've also been on a 2 month tear, studying for the GRE. I'll be taking the exam in Tokyo on Thursday, November 2nd. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, the Seattle Times is reporting that the Mariners may only be making a token bid for Daisuke as the asking price is becoming astronomically insane. That's Boras for you. He's weeding out the mid to low market teams early with some scary numbers and some tough talk. The big boys are going to be at each other like sharks with blood in the water though. The article is well written and quite comprehensive.

For Yankee fans, the news from George King of the NY Post is that the Yankees may be looking at Jeff Suppan of the Cardinals as a way to hedge the chance that they won't win the rights to Matsuzaka. That seems like a surefire way to have Yankee fans screaming bloody murder in the streets. If you don't get Daisuke to the Bronx, you'd better bring in Zito. Suppan is a bad pitcher. Period. He has a career 4.60 ERA and a 1.416 WHIP over 12 seasons. Watch the Bronx catch fire if that happens. People will riot, I promise you.

Tim Marchman of the New York Sun does a rundown for New York fans of both teams on the FA options this season. Nothing ground breaking, but a very well written piece to sink your teeth into. The Matsuzaka bit is as follows:

"The next-best bet is Daisuke Matsuzaka, ace of the Seibu Lions and Scott Boras client. His Japanese numbers are so good they're easily discounted — 741.1 innings over the last four years with a 2.51 ERA, a 768/188 K/BB ratio, and a record of success under pressure in championship games. Under the posting system by which American teams gain access to Japanese players, the rights just to negotiate with him will cost probably upwards of $20 million, and then it will take an ace-level contract to sign him.

Is an unknown worth all that money? I'd guess yes, though it's an awfully big risk. We know how good the Japanese leagues are — better than AAA, worse than the majors — and also why. There's not as much power there. Statistically, Matsuzaka looks like a 200-inning, 3.25 ERA or so starter; at his age, that's exceptionally valuable. The problem is that you can't do a linear, one-to-one translation of his statistics and call it a day.

Matsuzaka is eerily reminiscent of a young David Cone, from his low slingshot delivery to nearly patternless pitching based around a wide variety of breaking balls and a fastball that reaches the mid-90s but sits a bit lower than that; should his fastball prove a bit short for the majors, though, and thus more vulnerable to the longball, he might just be the world's priciest junkballer. Despite that, he has youth and a proven track record of excellence. For a team with enough money to sign him and not collapse if he proves a bust, he's worth the risk."

I'm sure that Marchman has never seen Daisuke pitch. The "junkballer" label is something that no firsthand witness of his stuff would ever say. The slider alone is enough to make a 92 MPH fastball look 96-97. But then all of you know that already, right?

Nothing else going on. I won't be posting the next couple of days as I will be immersed in testing. I'll be back and refreshed after the exam and we'll get down to some serious business. Be back soon!!!


At 1:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the posting period set in stone or arbitrary negotiated? I thought I heard Nov 1st, or the first week of November. Then I heard other people said teams can bid starting end of November. Which is it?

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous EMag said...

As far as options go outside of Matsuzaka, I understand there may be another pitcher or two coming over from Japan, but don't know much about them. Any thought?

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Mike Plugh said...

Posting can take place anytime between November and March, but he will be posted at the start of November like the others before him.

The other Japanese pitchers who are available aren't very good this year. Next year is a different story....

At 7:40 AM, Blogger KingCorran said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7:41 AM, Blogger KingCorran said...

Igawa and Kuroda... both very much worth paying attention to, although clearly not in the same ballpark as Matsuzaka. There may be others. You can find good info on them on a shamelessly Mariners-oriented site called Detect-O-Vision, at www.detectovision.com.

Look for articles called POTDs(Player of the Days) on the right side (in the 'Hottest Groks' section). Both have recent enough comments to be on the list.

Or, you could just be lazy, and copy-paste these URLs:

Kei Igawa (83 comments): http://detectovision.com/?p=857

Hiroki Kuroda (103 comments): http://detectovision.com/?p=852

At 7:47 AM, Blogger KingCorran said...

By the way, regarding the Times' article...

...Bill Bavasi has a history of misdirection, with the exception of his 2004 comments stating something like 'the big name players, the one everyone thinks of... those are the ones we're going after'. Add that to the fact that Seattle area newspapers are in the Mariners' back pocket, and I'm not inclined to give too much weight to this article. I'd be more likely to believe this is Bavasi or Lincoln (M's CEO and class A schmuck) working to divert attention. (Although they do leave the back door open, don't they?)

I'm not predicting a Mariners victory on Dice-K's posting, but I'll bet you that they make a very competitive bid, not a token bid. And if Yamauchi-san decides he wants Matsuzaka in Seattle (perhaps to placate Ichiro, his personal baseball idol), then I doubt even Steinbrenner's pocketbook stands a chance at keeping that from happening.

(Reasoning - at some point, Matsuzaka becomes VORP/$$ for even Steinbrenner. For Yamauchi, Dice-K remains *Japanese* in addition to his intrinsic baseball value... IF he decides to pursue him, I cannot imagine that anything will get in his way - much as the Times article postulates).

At 10:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know Boras likes to use teams against each other to jack up the price, but he can't do that here. I've noticed that what he also likes to do is wait until a high salary has been given to another guy for his guy to sign, since the precedent has been set. Wouldn't Boras like to wait until Zito is signed to some gigantic deal before Matsuzaka gets posted, instead of being posted right away?

At 11:08 AM, Blogger KingCorran said...

Zito is Boras' agent, so theoreticaly no. However, rumor in Japan is that Seibu will not post Matsuzaka imemdiately to drive up the price... perhaps waiting until mid-month. So the same effect may be reached.


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