Saturday, November 11, 2006

Fenway's Ace

Speculation is speculation, and no one knows who has won the Matsuzaka bidding process. Until it's announced, it could well be the Rangers or Yankees that have won. The odds of the winning team being the Cubs or Mets seems slim at this point, but you never know.

I tend to believe that the Buster Olney story is true and that Matsuzaka will be the new ace of the Red Sox next season. I may eat my words on this come revelation day (which is likely Sunday in the US), but I'm leaning towards the ESPN story. I stick by my comments of one post earlier. I've been saying it for some time now that a per year expenditure of more than $20 million for a pitcher is next to crazy. That said, an ace is an ace.

If Theo Epstein splashed, he's won a huge round for the Fenway faithful. I believe Matsuzaka is one of the Top Ten pitchers in the world, and will prove it within a years time. He may throw to a 3.50 ERA in season one, but he's got better seasons than that ahead of him in my opinion. The Sox have other holes to fill, but they need not worry about finding their #1 pitcher anymore. They will also have opened a lucrative market in Japan that is absolutely dominated by the Yankees, and has been since the days of Babe Ruth, who is a legend here. The Mariners have Ichiro, and they are now nearly as famous as the Bombers. The White Sox and others have had some nice exposure in Japan with their players, but nothing to the degree of Matsui or Ichiro. The acquisition of Matsuzaka will drive some big money to the Red Sox, and help to offset the cost of the bidding. Again, I stick by my opinion that the money that comes in from Asia will not be enough to justify a $40 million+ bid, but a bold blow has been stuck by Red Sox Nation.

Let's wait before we finalize this and put Daisuke in the heat of the New England spotlight, but I believe it more and more as I think of it. For fans of other teams, I believe that it's over for you. I don't think the Yankees bid more than the Rangers or Red Sox at this moment in time, and I think you'll see one or the other of those clubs with Matsuzaka. I may be wrong, but there's been plenty of time for the other clubs to float their own rumors and they haven't......

20 Comments:

At 10:36 PM, Blogger INKJETCARTRIDGES.ORG said...

Another thing to think about is that with other Japanese players coming onto the market currently the rumor could be a way of getting others to overspend on those options. I really doubt that is happening though. I think this is real also. I think Theo is going for it. What if they land Matsuzaka and Iwamura, for example? That would be a splash. It would be a brilliant preemptive strike for this year's hot stove allowing a lot of flexibility in terms of trades for the Fenway faithfull.

 
At 11:52 PM, Blogger 5 Year Grace Period said...

Here's my question...

Does the posting price count toward the luxury tax threshold? Because if it doesn't, this is genius...John Henry has the cash to put toward this, and if only 12 million bucks is going into their payroll, it still allows them to fill other gaps without approaching Yankees territory.

I've yet to see anyone answer this question...

 
At 2:25 AM, Blogger Simone said...

It is bad news for the Yankees if the Red Sox acquire Matsuzaka. I think he will be a no. 2 at minimum. With Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Schilling, their rotation will be formidable.

However, based on your Canyon of Heroes post on Igawa, he sounds like a nice fall back option for the Yankees. Hopefully, they are open to bidding on Igawa.

 
At 3:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came and told you what happened right after it happened told you the yankees did not have the highest bid. If you really wanted to run a legit Blog you sould def. post what people tell you cause you have no clue who i am and what i do? And i came back and you erased it i have more info but im not going to post it unless you are willing to post atleast things i post.

 
At 4:03 AM, Blogger susan mullen said...

It's really not a 'Buster Olney story,' though that's the multi-million dollar perception that's been sold. It's actually a Bud Selig/MLB, Inc./ESPN/Red Sox story. In return, Espn and their reporters & employees report and vote the way Bud wants. If this had truly been a leak, Bud would've had it removed, taken down, etc. It's just collusion & politics between business people who are used to doing whatever they want.

 
At 5:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't funny money, Mike. The Red Sox will have to actually come up with 48 million dollars in ACTUAL money. That's a lot -- even for a major league baseball team. And unlike the Yankees, the pockets of the Red Sox are not bottomless. Spending almost 50 million just to talk to him, and then another 10 or 11 million on the first year of his contract, will make it impossible for them to function and will kill their budget. Laying out 60 million in one year is like adding two and a half A-Rod contracts. It's simply insane. There's no way the Sox could afford it, and if they do, it will have a negative long-term effect on their team. That franchise is maxed out. For all the money they will make in Japan, they wouldn't see it immediately, so this expenditure will kill their '07 and maybe even '08.

Matsuzaka probably will be an ace, but if this is true they really overreached. Frankly, their bid seems a little desperate. And Pedro showed that having one good pitcher can't win you a thing. Schilling, Beckett and Wakefield aren't anything special, and no one knows what Papelbon will bring as a starter.

They would have been smarter to spread that money out to all the problems they have.

And if this is true, the Red Sox can no longer talk about "competing with the Yankees' resources" and no other "small market" team can say the Yankees overspend to get everything they want. This will be the worst sports-spending profligacy in history.

 
At 5:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard two different rumors this morning. Both say that the Sox have won Matsuzaka's rights, but they both run all over the place after that...

1. I've heard that the Sox will trade his rights to the Mets for Heilman and Milledge, plus $23million. If the Mets are unable to sign him...they will get the $23million and Lastings Milledge back, but the Sox will keep Heilman.

2. I've heard that the Rangers are the team that the Sox will trade his rights to. The Rangers would send $25mil pls Ian Kinsler to the Sox for his rights. If the Rangers can't sign him, they'll get their money back, but not Kinsler.

I've heard that the Sox merely blew everyone out of the water with their bid, just so they can trade his rights. We'll see.

 
At 5:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard two different rumors this morning. Both say that the Sox have won Matsuzaka's rights, but they both run all over the place after that...

1. I've heard that the Sox will trade his rights to the Mets for Heilman and Milledge, plus $23million. If the Mets are unable to sign him...they will get the $23million and Lastings Milledge back, but the Sox will keep Heilman.

2. I've heard that the Rangers are the team that the Sox will trade his rights to. The Rangers would send $25mil pls Ian Kinsler to the Sox for his rights. If the Rangers can't sign him, they'll get their money back, but not Kinsler.

I've heard that the Sox merely blew everyone out of the water with their bid, just so they can trade his rights. We'll see.

 
At 8:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now Sponichi, Sanspo, and Houchi papers all beleive the BoSox are the winner, quoting what Boston Herald's Tony Massarotti and others said about the ESPN report.
One of them is already talking about Yanks' Mat vs. BoSox' Mat, and how exciting it'll be for Japanese baseball fans.
Facing him in ALCS? Forget about it!

Just see his happy face when he was asked about the rumors.

http://www.sanspo.com/baseball/top/bt20061...2006111201.html



George, Randy Levine, Cashman they blew it , gettting Dmat.

One paper speculates that the only reason why Seibu didn't accept the bid immediately is because there is a party celebrating the win at WBC on Tuesday, and Seibu wanted to use this opportunity to announce the winning bidding team; If Seibu accepts the bid on Monday, Seibu will be notified of the winning bidding team next day. It may also have something to do w/Mat's busy schedule. Makes sense?

 
At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if all goes according to plan, assuming the Red Sox did post a bid that high - its not as insane as it sounds. The team owns 80% of NESN - so they can probably recoup most of their post money by selling TV rights to Red Sox games in Japan. Notable too is that Matsuzaka's wife is apparently in the sportscasting biz back in Japan so I'm guessing she'd be a natural fit as NESN's Japanese correspondant for the broadcasts.

 
At 2:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although the price tag initially seems high for Matsuzaka, the Red Sox would potentially reap tremendous benefits from a NESN cable package in Japan offsetting the incredible amount of the bid.

 
At 10:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of us will never have $25 million to spend or invest, so it is hard to comment on specific numbers. However, money spent by the Red Sox for the right to negotiate has two additional benefits. First, it guarantees he will not join the Yankees this year, which has to be worth several games in the standings. Second, the money does not count towards the tax on high salaries that baseball adopted instead of a salary cap.

 
At 2:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know alot more about Matsuzaka than I do, infact I know nothing, so yeah.

But if he can post a 3.50 era (or hell anything near 3.80 is great) he'd be a huge sucess. The Red Sox haven't really had a SP under 4 since 2004. (Schilling did get 3.99 last year, but come on)

Schilling is retiring next season so them splurging on him to have a real #1 next year in beyond in the future.

Nice post as always, I enjoy reading this blog.

 
At 6:27 AM, Blogger LButler36 said...

EVen if it is the high end of the scale, the Sox payroll would still only be about 135 mil, nowhere near the 200+ of the yankees. also, matsuzaka will not be the number 1 starter on the sox (more likely the 2-3 behind schilling and/or beckett and possibly as low as 4 if clemens is signed)

 
At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a faithful member of Red Sox nation, Fenway Park season ticket holder, and lifetime resident of Beantown, I think that the Sox NEED to land Datsuke. Theo has been able to piece together winning teams with lesser known and over-the-hill stars, but this year the Yankees outdid the sox with sheer spending power. Bobby Abreu. The Sox have the ability to drop upwards of 75 million dollars on a guy that hasn't even pitched an inning in the bigs, and I think they need to do it to keep pace with the Yankees. It's clear that if this hot stove season goes by without some big time additions in the lineup, bullpen, and rotation, the Sox will spend 2007 rebuilding.

I have a few qualms about Datsuke. First, obviously, who knows if he'll really be a bona fide ace in MLB. Boston is baseball crazy, and if Datsuke were to come in and have a rough few outings right off the bat, the whole city, not to mention Dan Shaugnessy and his fellow Globe writers, would tear him to shreds. Talk about shattering confidence. If he has the stuff though, I think Jason Varitek would be key in his success. I doubt Datsuke would even be allowed to shake Tek off. I've watched some videos of Datsuke, and from the windup he stops his motion. I think he'd get called for a balk in the USA. Although in theory, he should be able to just not stop and not be effected, but pitchers are strange creatures. Changing a pitcher's delivery is very dangerous, and little things can become huge mental blocks.

If the Red Sox go out and sign Datsuke, I expect them to make a serious run in 2006. This will probably be Curt Schilling's last year, Mike Timlin's last year, and Manny Ramirez's last year. Theo needs to stack this team now, because come 2007, theres no point in having the highest paid pitcher in baseball (including that 40 million dollar posting fee) if they are going to finish third in the division anyway.

 
At 10:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, I just caught the 10:30 pm Asahi TV news, and if I understood correctly, the announcement from Seibu will come Tuesday morning around 10.

 
At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike,
Monday in Japan is slipping away quickly and still no word? This situation has become completely ridiculous. Hopefully, the posting system will be put out to pasture.

I noticed that many, many people have taken the stance that this is way too much money to spend on one player. They are combining the posting fee and his expected salary into one number and saying things like "22 million per year for anyone player is crazy" etc...

I think this is completely the wrong way to look at it - for the Red Sox. There are several good reasons not employ this logic:

1) The Red Sox have gobs of money. When they changed ownership awhile back, the guy had to promise Bud he would respect the salary limits and not try to keep pace with the Yankee payroll. The Red Sox would love to spend more money every year - but they're hamstrung. The posting does not count against the cap. They can take all the money they would have spent over the last few years and invest it without violating their agreement w/ Bud.
2) The Red Sox have not had a marquee Japanese player. They are sure to reap a television deal and increase Ad revenue as a result. In short, they will recoup some if not all of the posting fee.
3) The actual contract he gets, that's money they're paying for him to pitch. They don't need to recoup his "salary" from ad revenue anymore than they need to recoup Schilling's or Manny's. I imagine they have a good chance at signing a reasonable deal, 3 or 4 years for 35-45 million.

I hate the fact this makes so much sense to me. The Red Sox could and should have made an outrageous bid and the Yanks should have seen it coming and out spent them. I can't blame them though, I didn't put all the pieces together until I heard that Boston was in command from ESPN.

As for the posting system, it's time to adopt professional soccer's transfer market rules. Their system is way better. And if Matsuzaka and the Yanks wanted to make it work under those rules, their would have been no stopping them.

At this point, anything but the Red Sox will make me do a jig.

 
At 3:03 AM, Blogger IMHO said...

Just heard on XM from Orestes Destrade that he went to...???

 
At 6:34 AM, Blogger YankeeBaseball said...

Cash has been Money since he got control 1&1/2yrs ago. I love his latest moves. But with the shaky state of our rotation, WE REALLY NEED MATSUZAKA! I am still irrationally hoping and praying that Cash realized there is no other exceptional alternative and thus somehow he ponied up and got Matsu (although the Boston scenario seems to make sense for them and is therefore more likely). :-(

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger dpmacmanus said...

As a Sox fan, I sure hope you're right. I hate the amount of money the Sox are spending on this guy.

I guess it might depend on how much money we can squeeze out of Japan. Maybe this is an investment that is measured by more than the player's value on the field. Sorta like how the Mets' signing of Pedro showed they weren't the same old sorry-ass Mets anymore, but this would be about marketing in Asia, rather than signaling to other free agents.

Thanks for the higly informative site. I'll be checking back!

 

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