Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The $51 Million Man

The rumors that the RedSux won the bidding war for Daisuke Matsuzaka are true; the rumors that the bid was in the $38-45M range were false. Instead, the Blosax are going to pay a $51,100,000 transfer fee to the Seibu Lions to get a 30-day window, starting yesterday, to sign the pitcher.

Both Tom Verducci (SI) and Jerry Crasnick (ESPN) noted the stakes for the Sawx: credibility. Failure to sign the pitcher means insulting Japan and the Far Eastern talent pool and shows the RedSax are not serious when they claim to be. Note to Wongdoer: THIS IS NOT JUST A TRICK TO BLOCK THE YANKEES.

Scouts claim that Matsuzaka is an ace through and through. He's been a top pitcher in Japan, and has international experience both in the Olympics and the World Baseball Crapshoot (where he won MVP honors). He's 26.

Crasnick thinks Scott Boras is gunning for a $45M/3 contract for his client. At the end of the three years, Matsuzaka would be 29 and a free agent. That'd make Matsuzaka's cost to the RedSux $32M per year for the next three years, more than double the Roy Oswalt yearly rate.

The RedStiffs will likely want more time from him, but Boras actually does have serious leverage -- the Redstanks desire for an ace, their reputation in the game, their reputation in the Far East, all of which will suffer a 5-10 year hit if negotiations fail versus Boras' ability to say the talks broke down over cash. In other words, if they want four years, Boras will make the Sawx pay -- probably 65M+ if Crasnick's thought process is correct.

And the $51.1M? Seibu can probably pay its labor costs for next year and then some. About a half-dozen teams in MLB could say the same. Heck, that's more than three seasons' worth of the Yankees' share of A-Rod's contract.

Bold move, RedSawks. For y'all's sake, it has to pay off.

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