Face OffIt's down to about 2 days now. The Red Sox, Boras, and Matsuzaka will be meeting face to face to hammer out whatever they can at the 11th hour. It seems as though the Red Sox are going to sweeten the pot, but Boras is proclaiming that Matsuzaka should be paid $100 million over 5 or 6 years, regardless of the posting fee. Epstein is standing by his posting fee, plus salary, calculations for his budget.
The meeting that is being arranged between the interested parties may or may not ever materialize. If Boras and Matsuzaka are working together, and are adamant about their numbers, there will be no deal. I can't see Epstein paying Matsuzaka between $15 and $20 million on top of the posting fee.
I think I know what the thinking is here. I believe Boras knows that the Mets, Yankees, probably the Rangers, and just maybe the Cubs would have paid the $18 million a season (or someting close) on top of the posting fees they threw out there. He knows that given the chance again, he could get those teams to pay $100 million over 6 years, plus the posting fee. If Matsuzaka goes back to Japan for the 2007 season, he could earn 4 or 5 million for the year. If the Sox offer is $12-$14 million and the other teams will pay him $18, he loses nothing in the end.
The x-factor is Boras' ability to get Daisuke HUGE money from Nike, or any of the other heavyweight advertisers that he has relationships with. If he dangles insane endorsement money in front of Matsuzaka, he'll play along. If you remember when Shaq was drafted, he held out for the money he wanted by promising to live off the money he was receiving from Pepsi and Reebok.
It's about the money, and the willingness of other clubs to pay the higher salary. If Boras knows that money is out there, from a pure business standpoint, it makes sense to play hardball in this way. It's disappointing, greedy, and a bit unsportsmanlike, but it is a business and we're reminded of that every time a big time athlete takes the money. The last thing you need to know today is that The Japan Times has confirmed that Matsuzaka WILL NOT be a free agent after 2007 due to the half season he missed as a result of injury in 2002. He has to wait until 2008 to be a free agent.
More when it goes down.