December 10, 2006


Tumblin’ Dice: Sox’ talks with Matsuzaka break down (Michael Silverman, 12/10/06, Boston Herald)

Negotiations between the Red Sox [team stats] and Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka have essentially broken down, a source familiar with the talks said late last night, adding that unless there is an abrupt change of course, Matsuzaka will not be signing with the Red Sox before Thursday’s midnight deadline.

Attempts to reach Matsuzaka’s agent, Scott Boras, were unsuccessful last night. However, the well-placed source blamed Boras for stubbornly being unable to get over the flaws in the Japanese posting system, saying that he has been unwilling to negotiate and that he has acted disinterested in even making a deal.

Mr. Boras thinks this is just another case where he can take a young top draftee and hold him out of baseball for a year waiting for another team to draft him the next year. However, Mr. Matsuzaka wouldn't be eligible for free agency for two years, the Sox could just post $100 million next time and not sign him, and not only does the player desperately want to play here at the much higher salary the Sox are already offering but there's cultural pressure on him to sign. For once Mr. Boras holds none of the cards.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 10, 2006 9:28 AM

I think your information is wrong.

Matsuzaka-san won't be a FREE AGENT for 2 years.

He can be posted again next year, at which time the Sawx could again gum up the works with a huge bid without the intent to sign -- tho i think MLB would certainly step in and invalidate the Sawx bid in that case.

Once he's a free agent, in 2 years, the Sawx would be powerless to prevent him from signing with the highest bidder contract wise. There would be no posting process, and his Japanese team would get nada.

Boras holds more cards then you think therefore. Essentially, this is the Sawx only chance to sign him. In 2 years, at a minimum he'll be a Yankee, or maybe a Met. And next year, Boston won't be able to pull the same shananagins either.

If the Sawx don't sign him, I expect him to be posted again next year, and I expect actually that the Mets will get him, as the Yanks will have some of their youngsters moved into the rotation by then and won't need him.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 10, 2006 11:12 AM

But Boras can't convince him to play two more years for chump change for a team that needs to dump him in a country that would revile him. He holds no cards.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2006 11:51 AM

At worst, he has to play for another year in Japan.

We don't no how much Matsuka wants to come to the US anyway.

Clearly he wants to come, but is he willing to accept a contract that seems to be insulting giving what teams are handing out to mediocrities like Gil Meche.

Remember, Japan is a society where honor plays a large role. It's not inconceivable that Matsuzaka would walk away from a contract he considered an insult.

The Sawx are negotiating as if the money they'll pay to the Japanese team should be taken into account by the player. That's unrealistic.

The Herald's sources are those close to Theo. Clearly its Theo, not Boras, whose running scared. He can't afford to lose Mats. Especially given the chance that he'll just wind up in a Yankee uniform next season.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 10, 2006 12:00 PM

Yes, we do know that he wants to play in the US and that his team needs to sell him. He'll be crucified if he screws them because Boras is greedy.

The speculation has been since they bid $50 million that they were fine with him walking away because it kept the Yankees from getting him. Note that the Yanks wer5e stuck signing an aging cast-off who was ready to retire because he can't get steroids as easily anymore.

Posted by: oj at December 10, 2006 12:09 PM