Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Boston wins rights to negotiate with Matsuzaka

It has now been officially announced that a) the Seibu Lions have accepted the highest posted bid for the rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka, b) The Boston Red Sox were the high bidder, and c) the bid was for a staggering $51.1 million. This gives the Red Sox the right to negotiate with Matsuzaka, and his agent, Scott Boras, for the next 30 days. If a contract agreement is not reached in that time, Matsuzaka will return to Seibu, and will not be eligible to play in the Major Leagues in the US in 2007.

"Clearly, we believe Mr. Matsuzaka is a real talent."
- Boston GM Theo Epstein, with what is obviously the understatement of the day.

(Just out of curiousity, is anyone else intrigued by the prospect of going into the 2007 season with a rotation of Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Papelbon and Wakefield?)

Obviously, there's no way, in plain baseball terms, to justify the posting fee, particularly given what the likely salary will be. But, as has been observed in other places, Boston is paying the entry fee to get their product into the Asian market. It may well turn out to be worth it.

ESPN has, in their story, run a nifty little sidebar about how that $51.1 million could assemble an All-Star pitching staff in its entirety, with some money left over. While true, as far as it goes, it's not the whole story. While Johann Santana and Brandon Webb and Roy Oswalt and Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter don't combine to make $51.1 million, neither are any of them freely available (freely as in not costing any organizational talent), nor do any of them offer the potential of a new multi-million home market for NESN. In other words, it's the kind of apples vs. dump trucks comparions that looks cute and amusing in internet journalism sidebars without actually making anything useful in terms of a point...



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