Friday, November 10, 2006

Low Ball

I'm not one for rumor or innuendo. The process of posting and waiting is filled with speculation, as everyone involved has been sworn to absolute silence and secrecy. Nary a leak has been heard from either side of the Pacific, and it would appear that the business at hand has been done according to strict, upright standards. It's frustrating for the fans, who have flooded internet bulletin boards with unsubstantiated remarks about a cousin who heard from a paperboy that the Boston front office made a bid of $26 million, but that the Diamondbacks swooped in through a Middle East mediator to outbid them at $26 million and 1 dollar.

All of it is beyond ridiculous and unworthy of comment, except in mockery. I will report to you some tabloid news from the Japanese press this morning. This news is not to be taken as legitimate press coverage, or anything related to fact. I present it to you as a way to show the angst on both sides.

Two tabloids are reporting that their is tension at the Seibu offices as a result of a possible low bid. Speculation has been widely made, including here, that the winner may produce upwards of $30 million just to speak with Matsuzaka. These new reports suggest that the amount was substantially lower, and that it may even be half of Ichiro-like posting bid. I can't say that I believe any of this, as I find it hard to imagine that someone didn't bid over $20 million, as hyped as this free agent market is, but I suppose it is possible. If true, the Seibu board will have a tough choice to make today. Do you accept the lowball bid, and count yourself lucky you got anything for Matsuzaka, or do you retract him from the market and allow him to walk in the winter of 2007 for nothing? On one hand, you have cash in hand, but you feel shortchanged. On the other hand, you get the draw of Matsuzaka for another season, a chance at the title, but you risk pissing him off, disappointing a large fan base in two countries, and walking away empty handed next year. Is one more contentious season of Matsuzaka in Seibu blue and white worth $15 million? Only they can answer that, if the rumors are true. Again, I doubt it, but anything is possible.

More when it's announced.


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