Tuesday, November 14, 2006

We Win. We win.

Now the funny part is Yankee fans will say the Sox can never complain about how much they spend. Okay, even if we add the entire $51 Million to the Sox payroll from last year, it would still come up short.

Two funny things on ESPN.com today:

1. this poll. Question 7 is a tough one. If the Red Sox are able to sign Matsuzaka, how will they fare in 2007?
Reach world series
Al champion
AL East Champion
Miss Playoffs.

Hmmm. I'm having trouble deciding between the first two.

2. ESPN.com had a little link to a page where they proudly noted that their panel of Experts correctly predicted Webb would win Cy Young. Funny how we didn't see that for their post season picks.


  1. Anyone can say that and has, not just the Yankee fan. I don't see why that's THE funny thing about it. But, I never take espn polls either.

  2. AL Champion. And then, barring the otherworldly, Twilight Zone-ish series of injuries of '06, means World Series. Big time. And Theo and company are far from finished.

  3. Susan...not entirely sure what ANYTHING in your post actually means.

    I am guessing (and, mind you, only a guess) that you are not a Red Sox fan, and that you are making the point that they spend a lot of money.

    But then I read that you might be talking about the poll. X says "funny" only once in his post, but you make mention of "THE funny" and Yankees when the two points in his post were separate.

    Seems to make like you made your post to our gracious network just to start problems...Thanks for your time.

    Anyway, X, I happen to agree with you. The Sox make a huge bid (which does NOT go against pay roll and salary cap) to get Matsuzaka and now people will say how much money they spend.

    Meanwhile, if the Yankees outbid them, there would be the "Yankees always will have the financial advantage and the Sox will just have to live with that...". The bottom line is that ANY of the MILLIONAIRE/BILLIONAIRE owners could have bid for this guy and had a chance to win. Many did...This comes out of their pockets, not the teams payroll. It opens markets for advertising (in your stadium for Japanese products) and in Japan. Player jerseys go mostly to the team. Most other MLB apparel and broadcasts, though, are split by the league. It also opens up an entire nation of fans (who will buy into your website), and a nation of future prospects.

    In short, this isn't just a baseball move to get a top pitcher, it's a move that is very business oriented. That is why John Henry is a very successful business man, as are Lucchino and Werner.

    Anyway, Matsuzaka is not the be-all/end-all. However, it looks as though the rotation should be pretty good with Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and Papelbon. I also could see Wake or Papelbon heading to the pen halfway through the season if the Sox pursue Clemens, as well...

    Add JD Drew to the outfield, and build a good bench, and add to the bullpen, and then maybe this team is ok.

    My point is...Matsuzaka...YES!!! but still a long way to go.

    Jeez...my posts lately have been like the Randy Quaid character in "Major League"...

  4. Hmmm. I'm not sure if the actaul irony was even noted. The ESPN poll had REACH World Series first followed by AL Champion.

    It did not say WIN World Series. So basically one and two are the same.

    I think Peter may have gotten it, but my translation may have been off.

    If Zito goes fro $15 MM to NYY, with the luxury tax that same $15MM is about $20MM (or the same price as Matsuzaka). Not even cosidering the marketing potential, which NY already has with Matsui. Sure, this is a risk for the Sox, but it has some serious big upside.

    One minor note - the licensing (jersye's) etc does go to all teams, but so does any revenue associated with the Red Sox website (all team sites are run by MLB advanced media and the commish actually controls that $$ for now.) The key is, as you noted, the in park advertising plus any distribution of NESN in Japan (with local advertising sold). I have not seen any numbers on that, but you have to figure that is worht a couple million each year. Hell, if ESPN pays $2MM to the Liberty Bowl every year so that 8 guys in Alabama and Freson can watch it, you have to figure 100 or so games on NESN in Japan are worth at least that.

  5. I got what you were saying...I was just hacking away at the trolling that was going on...

    ESPN is great like that. Obviously paying much money to experts for their polling designs...

    Is the revenue generated by people joining "Red Sox Nation" shared?

    Doesn't matter...the advertising will make up for it. Perhaps Bob's won't be on the CF door next year...rather Fuji film...
    In addition..Suzuki has grown a Japanese fanbase in Seattle, as has Matsui in NY. These are new revenue streams. Not that Boston has any place to seat any more fans, but NY and Seattle has large portions of their crowds in their home stadiums buying their beer and hot dogs and paying for parking...but at the very least buying tickets. If supply and demand holds true then Sox tickets will jump in price again (so maybe that's a negative)...

    Plus, and let's face it...Guys like Matsui, Contreras, etc...chose the Yankees because they dreamed of playing for those teams since they were young. It helps the Yankees in winning some of those bidding wars (even if they don't offer the most money). Getting Boston in to those countries as "a wonderful place to go and play" will pay big dividends in the future.

  6. Is the revenue generated by people joining "Red Sox Nation" shared?

    good one.

    I think one area that will be huge is the ads behinbd homeplate when D-Mat is pitching. We better brush up on our Japanese. Or can they control which feed sees which ads - I seem to recall reading about the ability to superimpose such ads.

  7. (Hey look - Earl's back!)

    While I'm excited the FO's doing something, the whole thing's sort of shocking to me - I (ulp) agree with most of what Jeff Passan wrote. And I'm terrified we might end up with a Fat Toad, or even worse, a Carl Pavano (speaking of whom, check out this bit of ridiculousness which Deadspin found).

    But yeah, already we're reading all about how the Red Sox "can't whine" anymore. Annoying. GR's right - everything the FO does is a business decision, and I think the comment everyone points to - "Evil Empire" was a business decision as well. Maybe not a calculated one, but Lucchino all the PR he'd get out of an attitude like that. It certainly worked.

  8. Random question: there's no way the $51M is insurable, as if it were part of salary, is it?

  9. That Pavano hat is the most awesome thing I have ever seen.

    " Pavano wore this hat during at least one live Major League Baseball game durnig the 2006 season. A Yankees-Steiner Letter of Authenticity is included." I even love the typo in the sentence.

    Who knows, maybe he will be the next Irabu or Pavano. But he may also be the next Valenzuela or Santana. And by now we all agree that the business side is a large part of the equation.

    Funny Earl, you and I usually agree on most issues, but I think Passan seems a bit naive. The NBA survived (even thrived) in an Era when unproven college guys got $100MM contracts. Sure they eventually changed the rules, but its not like the league died. In Football (the gold standard), you have guys like Bush, Young and Smith getting $50-60 MM contracts without ever having played (sure they are not guaranteed in full), but it is the same issue. In European premier leagues Real Madrid paid a transfer fee of some $40 Million to get Beckham.

    He talks about the impact next winter that Ichiro Suzuki, Andruw Jones, Vernon Wells, Bobby Abreu, Carlos Guillen and Carlos Zambrano will have - but if their teams are smart, my guess is that 3 of them will be locked up before next November.

    He tries logic as well - "To assume the Red Sox will become the favorite team in the Far East by signing Matsuzaka is a reach at best." Sure that may be true. and maybe Passan is an expert in Japan baseball lore, but the point is the Red Sox don't have to be the most popular, just more popular than they currently are.

    I don't know. Passan comes across a bit like Bob Ryan - except he is half Ryan's age. Sure, its baseball's new world. Call it the mad new world if you wish, but for Christ’s sake, why is baseball always held to this ridiculous standard. First it is shock over the new CBA being achieved without a stoppage - well, increased wages are going to be a part of it. Deal with it. And like I wrote last week, is it really that much more silly than the contracts for Burnett, Ryan, Magglio, etc.

    Oh yeah, welcome back Earl.

  10. Oh yeah, and one more thing. Almost anything in the world is insurable. They would just need to find the right underwriter and be willing to fork over even more millions.

  11. I think you're reading more into the Passan column than I am. I certainly don't think this spells doom for anyone - baseball, the Red Sox, etc. I just find the dollar value sort of...stunning. It looks like the recent dip in FA salaries was just small speedbump.

    Anyway, have you seen Matsuzaka's recent stats? They're pretty damn impressive, and the trends are good...but who's his manager, Dusty Baker? Hopefully his arm won't fall off until after his contract with the Sox expires...

  12. Yeah, I guess it wasn't really doom and gloom, but just stunning - but that is what everyone predicted. While you were away, I did a post about how FA had not really gotten tame. sure we did not have the Ramirez, Hampton, Brown and A-Rod contracts, but there were a number that were rather Bobby-Jenksish. That is big and long. Beltran, Ordonez, Drew, Beltre, Millwood, Ryan, Burnett. All five years or more. And all an eyebrow raiser on some level. So the notion that baseball has all of a sudden thrown caution to the wind is a bit of an overstatement. (I would link my earlier post, but I can't get links ot work on this computer - more than one open window causes problems.

  13. ...Except there was a while when players and agents were screaming "collusion!" I think that was after the 2002 season, when I-Rod was forced to take "only" 1 yr/$10M with the Marlins, when he wanted 4-5 years at $12M. (Of course, the country was in a recession, and income tax rates for baseball players had just plummeted, but Scott Boras and the MLBPA don't generally care about inconvenient things like "facts".)

    ...Okay, I just looked it up. The MLBPA actually filed a grievance in January 2003 alleging collusion.

    I'd love to see the stats on this. My guess is there was never a true dip in contract value, but the rate of increase slowed for a little while, which was enough to set off the MLPBA. It's since back to its original insanity.

  14. Let me ask you guys the following question:

    Would you rather, as a Red Sox fan, have Mike Mussina at 12.5MM/year for the next two years, or take a gamble on Matsuzaka for probably the same money (plus the $51MM, which, again, is also for establishing a presence in the Far East)?

    I'll take Matsuzaka, hands down. I don't care that he pitched in Japan again (arguably) not as strong lineups, but he's 26, throws in the mid-90s, has a great curve, and some weird gyro pitch (that apparently acts like a screwball but does no damage to the arm).

    Think of part of that $51MM as money saved in having to scout to find a young arm, to draft and sign them, to bring them up through the minors. Usually, you sign 20 arms and 1 or 2 make the majors...

  15. I haven't felt comfortable doing the money whining thing for a long time. Yeah, the Yankees always outspend us, but that's because Steinbrenner is a desperate dumbass, not because the Sox don't have the money (as is now obvious). I always felt it was disingenuous of Theo et al. to use "we're not the Yankees..." as an excuse.

    And of course, it is still a salient point that our payrolls are $80M apart. But it's also true that we're pretty far ahead most of the other MLB teams, plenty of whom are just as good as the Sox. FA signings aren't everything.

    I'm happy about this signing though... psyched to see Matsuzaka pitch.