Countdown to ArmageddonAs I write this, word has been out for a couple of days that talks between Boras and the Red Sox have completely broken down. The Boston Herald reported this, citing an inside source close to the negotiations, and the rest of the media has been running with it. It’s hard to say where the two sides are at this point. All that had been reported in the press about numbers was $7-8 million a season from Boston versus $15 million a season from Boras. Let’s look at it again for a moment, and decide what it means.
If the Red Sox offered $7-8 million, and are not budging, they are to blame should things fail to come together. $7-8 million a season doesn’t buy you anything remotely close to a good pitcher in the current market, when Adam Eaton is getting a multi-year deal worth $8 million per season. I doubt that this is the case, however. I suspect the Sox are willing to pay more than $10 million and have made that move with Boras already.
If Boras has an offer on the table for $12 million or more per season, and he’s not budging, he’s the villain. All parties involved in these negotiations have to realize that the posting money is a hard, cold reality when budgeting a player into a team’s payroll, and the agent should be willing to work with the team to get value within reason. I think Arn Tellem is likely working this way with Kei Igawa and the Yankees.
The possibility exists that Boras is trying to single-handedly break the posting system altogether, and he may be using Matsuzaka to do so. If this is the case, it’s unfair to everyone involved. Yes, the posting system needs to be changed. The problem is, I think there is a plan to radically change it in the follow year, regardless of the Matsuzaka situation. A lot has been made of the reputations in this little game, should this scenario prove true. Matsuzaka’s reputation with the Japanese fans. The Red Sox reputation with Japanese owners and advertisers. Boras’ reputation with everyone.
My take on this is that Boras has the least to lose, so he may be willing to throw himself into the fire and try to blow the whole thing up. If he looks like a bad guy, well, he is. People see him as a bad guy anyway. Nothing to lose, everything to gain.
Matsuzaka will return to Japan, and probably come with his tail between his legs. He doesn’t want to pitch in Japan anymore, and he’s already said his goodbyes. The thing is, if the Red Sox are offering less than $12 million, he can likely recoup that money later. If Seibu pays him $6 million a year next season and opens the posting again, they will get their money and someone will pay Matsuzaka the $15+ million he wants. That’s $21 million over two years, where the Red Sox may only pay him $20. The numbers may differ a bit, but I think the point is valid.
The Red Sox will look bad if they low-balled him when comparing his value to the present market. No one told them to bid $13 million more than the Mets. No one will feel sorry for the Red Sox if they try to get a 26-year-old ace on the cheap after throwing a giant posting fee at Seibu. On the other hand, if the Sox are negotiating in good faith and have a fair offer of more than $12 million on the table, Matsuzaka needs to speak up and say, “Yo, Boras. I’ll take it, okay.” Otherwise, the Red Sox are the victims in this situation.
What do I believe? I believe that the Sox have an offer on the table that is close to fair. I believe that Boras wants $15 million and is not budging. In the end, as I’ve said before, I think the two sides will come together on less years at money somewhere between their current standoff. The Sox will give him up to free agency early, and in exchange Boras will come down slightly off his number.
The clock is ticking………