Getting CloserWe'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!!!