Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Value on the dollar? Matsuzaka signs

Sports Illustrated reports that the RedStanx have signed Matsuzaka for $52M/6 with escalator clauses that can raise his package to $60M/6. Total cost with escalators, $111M/6 including the transfer fee, or $18.5M per year.

The Monk thought this morning that there was no way the RedSux would honk once he heard that the Blosax offer was 48M/6 and Scott Boras' counteroffer was just 66M/6. After the Johnny Damon failure the Sawx had last year, and the beating the Astros are taking for allowing Pettitte to go over $2M, they would not let a premier player get away for only $3M per.

The numbers prove that the RedSax read the situation correctly: Matsuzaka wanted to come to the US and wanted to sign with whomever won the bidding rights. If Scott Boras had held to his valuation of Matsuzaka, his counteroffer would have been 14M/year or something in that range. Remember, Boras repeatedly told the Saax that Matsuzaka is a #1 starter and should be paid as such regardless of what the Beanheads bid to Seibu for the chance to talk with him. Thus, Boras had made noises about $100M contracts and the like. The fact that Boras had his client enter a preliminary agreement (details not final) for only 52M or 8.66M/year (compare that to 8M/year the Yanks agreed on with the older Jose Contreras) means that his client wanted to sign AND Boras bowed to two realities: (1) that the Stunks would not go overboard for a guy with no MLB experience; (2) that Boras would be unable to do business with Japanese players if his intransigence prevented that country's biggest baseball hero from landing in the majors in 2007.

For the Sawx, this could be an enormous deal -- salary consistency and a relatively low price for a top starter for six years in the prime of his career (think Mooooooooosina from 1998-2003). And if Matsuzaka flames out or just epitomizes mediocrity, the Sawx have a tradeable contract for reclamation masters like the Cards or Braves.

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