Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I’ve been doing some reading on this cat and a couple of thoughts come to my mind. Almost all reports indicate that he will be posted as early as tomorrow. The posting process has sealed bids with the highest bidder then being allowed to negotiate exclusively with him (and agent Scott Boras) for 30 days. If the two sides can not reach an agreement, the posting fee is returned. Ichiro fetched a $13 Million posting fee six years ago. Current speculation is that Matsuzaka could fetch double that (or more) in just the posting fee.
Now, here is where my questions come in:

One, if Matsuzaka can be a total free agent next year, why would he (led by Boras) not just wait out the one year? By coming to the US now all it does is put the alleged $25+ million in the pockets of the owner of the Seibu Lions. Conservatively, say its $20 Million to post, plus $35 million over 5 years (all indications are that Boras is going to ask for even more). That comes to $55 Million over 5 years (Burnett money) for the team. But if he is that good, why not wait the year, be a full free agent and then sign for the prorated $44 million over the last four years – the player would get $9 Million more (plus what he earned in Japan). To me, any posting fee paid by the US team is merely money taken out of the player’s pocket.

Two, what is prevent a team from bidding a ridiculous amount and not signing him, just to keep him away from other teams? Okay, you would probably create some ill will with the Japanese team/league (possibly even to the extent of damaging future transactions). And possibly with your own fans. You would likely have chance at him next year, but in the process you would increase the cost for the team that ultimately signs him (see math above). But it is a possibility.

Three, with the winning team being the exclusive negotiator, doesn’t that effectively stop Boras from doing what he does best – playing offers (fictitious or real) off one another? Then again, he got Hicks to go to $252 when no one else was above $150, so maybe it will be his finest day.

So all this adds up to a sneaking suspicion that this is all much ado about nothing. He may very well return to Japan next year.


  1. Good questions all, X, but I think one team in particular is going to pull out all the stops to have the exclusive rights to negotiate, with Boras at the helm. That team..the Yankees. Why?...their hugest weakness (among a few)...their starting rotation. I'd be surprised big time if he stays over there. Shocked, almost! Good stuff.

  2. Yeah, Peter's right. The existence of the Yankees pretty much answer all those questions. They want him NOW. And Boras knows it.

    (Of course, the Sox or Mets could win the posting, just to drive up the price for the Yanks?)

  3. I just came across this....
    TOKYO (AP) -- "Daisuke Matsuzaka said Wednesday he will pursue his dream of playing in the U.S. major leagues after the Seibu Lions officially agreed to the Japanese star pitcher's release.
    The most dominant pitcher in Japanese baseball for the past eight seasons, Matsuzaka told a packed press conference that it has long been his desire to play in the majors.
    "I feel very relieved today," said Matsuzaka. "I've wanted to go to the major leagues for a long time and am happy this day has finally come."
    ***This is me...I think he will be pitchng on this side of the world next year. And with John Henry's money, it's any team's ballgame. He'd fit right in...Schill, Beckett, Paps,........, and Wakefield, who is the PERFECT number five. But it's a long shot......

  4. Well, the Yanks are the only one that it might make *perfect* sense for. The posting fee itself does nto count toward the luxury tax. If they give Zito 6 years, $70 million, it in a sense costs them $98 million. If they give Matsuzaka 6 years $70 million (split between $22 and $48) the total cost is about $10 million less).

    I still think this is not as easy as anyone thinks. Its a whole new ballgame for Boras. And he won't have the usual leverage.

    One other note - the timing of this (i.e., this week potentially) and how quickly it must evolve, could change a lot of things in the FA market. Boras is usually one to wait (Varitek, with vitually no other suitors waited until X-Mas eve, Beltran until January, Weaver and Washburn until January, Damon late December). This could put the market into a frenzy. Or Boras could aim so high, it actually could slow things down even more.

    I say 50/50 at best that he comes here. Boras will want the most $$ to go to the player, not the Seibu Lions.