Dec 12, 2006

The Matsuzaka Soap

John Thorn's take.

Ken Rosenthal.

Globe article.

My take:
There's about 48 hours to go, but the deal will unfortunately get done. Both Boras and the Sawx are playing the PR game to drive the deal in their favor.

The reasons why the deal will happen are - if Mats doesn't sign, (and unless Selig thinks the $51 mil bid was in bad faith, which is unlikely) he will pitch for Seibu again in 2007. That means: 1. He makes less money - only about $6 million in Japan; 2. He doesn't pitch in MLB, which he seems to want badly; 3. He has to be posted again next year, and Seibu doesn't get a dime of the Sawx' outrageous bid; 4. The Sawx and Boras (and Matsuzaka) will take a ton of heat from fans and the media. If Selig does think the bid was in 'bad faith,' he can award negotiating rights to the 2nd highest bidder, the Mets in this case.

The reasons why the deal may not happen are: 1. Boston's bid was solely to block the Yanks, and they are simply putting on a show to make it seem like they're giving it their all to sign him (and they don't want to pay ~$100 million for 3-4 years for a non-ML player); 2. Boston made the outrageous bid because they believed Seibu would refund a portion of the bid back to them, or give it directly to Matsuzaka to coerce a less expensive contract from the Sawx (as many feel happened with Ichiro and Seattle in 2000); 3. Matsuzaka picked Boras because he gets his clients the most money - if Boras thinks he can get more money somewhere else (like the Mets or free agency - which will happen sometime between May 2008 and November 2008), he'll do it; 4. There are rumors Boras wants to 'break' the posting system (probably to bring about true international free agency); 5. Matsuzaka is a proud (cocky?) guy, and he does not want to sign for less than he's worth, not just for his own sake, but for his homeland legacy.

However, I feel the reasons 'for' are too important, and each side is just trying to drive the price in their favor. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that he signs for about $50 million for 4 years (with a club option)...

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